Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 infection is associated with suicidal behavior and first registered psychiatric diagnosis in a healthy population

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Janna Nissen
  • Betina Trabjerg
  • M G Pedersen
  • Erik Sørensen
  • Kaspar René Nielsen
  • Christian Erikstrup
  • Mikkel Steen Petersen
  • Helene Martina Paarup
  • Peter Bruun-Rasmussen
  • David Westergaard
  • Carsten B Pedersen
  • Fuller Torrey
  • Henrik Hjalgrim
  • Preben Bo Mortensen
  • Robert Yolken
  • Henrik Ullum
  • K S Burgdorf

Increasing evidence shows that latent infections and inflammation is associated with cognitive and behavioral changes in humans. This case-control study investigates the association between Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) infection and C-reactive Protein (CRP) levels, and psychiatric disorders and suicidal behavior. Public health register data from 81,912 participants in the Danish Blood Donor Study, were reviewed to identify individuals registered with an ICD-10 code of any psychiatric diagnosis, or who had attempted or committed suicide. We found 1,504 psychiatric cases and 353 suicidal cases; for all cases, controls were frequency-matched by age and sex, resulting in 5,336 participants. Plasma samples were analyzed for IgG-class antibodies against HSV-1 and CRP. HSV-1 infection was associated with suicidal behavior (odds-ratio, 1.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.11-1.77). Accounting for temporality, HSV-1 infection was associated with having first psychiatric disorder after the date of blood collection (incidence rate ration, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.05-1.95). No association between CRP and psychiatric disorders or suicidal behavior was found. The finding that HSV-1 was associated with suicidal behavior and first psychiatric disorder indicates that infection may play a role in the etiology and pathogenesis of suicidal behavior and development of psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-154
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

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