Bartonella Associated with Psychosis in Adults

Graphic: Brain, Psychosis, BartonellaFrontiers in Psychiatry, (Robeville, C., et al.)  6.6.2024 published, “Bartonella species bacteremia in association with adult psychosis.” Findings of this new study show that Bartonella DNA is 3 times more likely to be present in the blood of adults diagnosed with schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder than in adults without these disorders. The findings of the study support the concept that pathogens, particularly vector-borne, may be a contributor to mental illness.

Previous studies have shown a potential link between Bartonella spp. infection and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Neuropsychiatric illnesses found to be associated with Bartonellosis include pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome and schizophrenia. This new study further investigates the potential role of Bartonella spp. exposure or infection in association with psychosis. 116 participants were evaluated for Bartonella spp. through various  blood sample tests including the “presence of anti-Bartonella antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFA), and infection by amplification of bacterial DNA from blood by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), digital PCR (dPCR), and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR).”

Findings showed that there was no significant difference in Bartonella spp. IFA seroreactivity between adults with psychosis and adult controls. However, test results showed that adults with psychosis had Bartonella spp. DNA in the bloodstream at a higher rate (43.2%) compared to adult controls. Researchers determined the species of Bartonella for 18 of the 31 participants with bacteremia. Bartonella henselae was the most common infection (11/18), and several other species were detected including: Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii (6/18), Bartonella quintana (2/18), Bartonella alsatica (1/18), and Bartonella rochalimae (1/18).

Authors suggest that these study results, in conjunction with other recent research findings, provide the groundwork for a larger and more inclusive vector-borne and other microbial infections multi-center study (national or international) to better understand the relationship between infections with the potential to impact the central nervous system and mental health outcomes.

For More Information: 

Read the Frontiers in Psychiatry Article

Read the North Carolina State University News Release

Read More LDA Articles on Bartonella Associated with Mental Illness