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CNS Drugs. 2001;15(4):287-310.

Oxidative damage and schizophrenia: an overview of the evidence and its therapeutic implications.

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VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Neurochemistry and Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Pennsylvania 15206-1297, USA.


Free radicals are highly reactive chemical species generated during normal metabolic processes. which in excess can lead to membrane damage. Elaborate antioxidant defence systems exist to protect against oxidative stress. There is accumulating evidence of altered antioxidant capacity in schizophrenia. Membrane dysfunction can be secondary to free radical-mediated pathology, and may contribute to specific aspects of schizophrenic symptomatology and complications of its treatment. Specifically, free radical-mediated abnormalities may contribute to the development of a number of clinically significant consequences, including prominent negative symptoms, tardive dyskinesia, neurological 'soft' signs and parkinsonian symptoms. Our previous results showing altered membrane dynamics and antioxidant enzyme activities in schizophrenia, and findings from other investigators, are consistent with the notion of free radical-mediated neurotoxicity in schizophrenia. These findings provide a theoretical basis from which the development of novel therapeutic strategies such as fatty acid and antioxidant supplementation can occur in the future.

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