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Schizophr Res. 2009 Dec;115(2-3):209-14. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2009.07.022. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

Reduced cerebrospinal fluid and plasma nerve growth factor in drug-naïve psychotic patients.

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Interactive Research School for Health Affairs, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune 411043, India.


Impaired expression and function of several major neurotrophic factors such as nerve growth factor (NGF) has been proposed to contribute to the neurodevelopmental pathology of schizophrenia. However, the evidence in the majority of studies is based on variable and inconsistent levels of plasma NGF in diverse populations of early psychosis or medicated patients with chronic schizophrenia. We report here the first study comparing NGF levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma from a unique patient cohort (unmedicated, early psychotic patients with similar racial and dietary patterns) and matched healthy controls. Significantly lower levels of NGF in both CSF (p=0.038) and plasma (p=0.002) were observed in drug-naïve first-episode psychosis patients as compared to controls. The levels of NGF in the CSF correlated (p=0.05) to the plasma values in controls. The data on plasma NGF confirm the reported deficits of NGF in drug-naïve first-episode psychosis. The reduced levels first time observed here may have important implications to repeatedly reported neurobiological and clinical deficits which are discussed.

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