Several studies have indicated that cytokines may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Previous studies, however, have yielded contradictory results; in this study we assess the plasma levels of both T-helper-1 (Th 1) and T-helper-2 (Th2) cytokines in patients with acute exacerbations of schizophrenia. Plasma concentrations of interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-10 (IL-10), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and soluble receptor of interleukin-6 (sIL-6R) were measured with high sensitivity, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) in patients with acute exacerbations of schizophrenia as compared with healthy controls. Patients with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia had significantly increased production of TNF-alpha and significantly reduced production of IL-4 as compared with healthy subjects. No significant difference was observed in IL-6, sIL-6R, IL-8 and IL-10. Acute exacerbations of schizophrenia are associated with increased TNF-alpha concentrations (Th1) with concomitantly reduced concentrations of IL-4 (Th2) and a resulting increased TNF-alpha/IL-4 ratio. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved..