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Aberrant folate status in schizophrenic patients: what is the evidence?

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1
GGz Nijmegen, Mental Health Institute Nijmegen, P.O. Box 7049, 6503 GM Nijmegen, The Netherlands. jmuntjewerff@ggznijmegen.nl

Abstract

A vast amount of case reports, open studies and, to a lesser extent, case-control studies have been published on the topic of psychopathology and folate deficiency. These studies reported a high incidence of serum folate deficiency in patients with various psychiatric disorders. Folate deficiency seems to be a particular consistent finding in depressive patients. The evidence for an association between aberrant folate status and schizophrenia seems less convincing. The lack of stringent methodology such as inclusion of age- and sex-matched controls was thought to be the main reason for the inconclusive results. The purpose of this article is to review the published case-control studies that provide data on folate levels in the population of patients with schizophrenia. Data extracted from these studies comprised methodological design, clinical characteristics and folate measurements. We found that none of the 7 case-control studies included in this review (in total 325 cases and 560 control subjects) explicitly reported on all critical factors in the assessment of folate. In addition, only three studies found lower plasma folate levels more frequently in patients with schizophrenia compared to controls. Further research on this topic is required to clarify the relationship between folate status and schizophrenia and should avoid the methodological pitfalls mentioned in this review. In addition, research should also focus on polymorphisms of genes related to folate metabolism.

PMID:
16111796
DOI:
10.1016/j.pnpbp.2005.06.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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