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Transl Psychiatry. 2012 Aug 14;2:e149. doi: 10.1038/tp.2012.76.

Schizophrenia shows a unique metabolomics signature in plasma.

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1
Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany.

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a severe complex mental disorder affecting 0.5-1% of the world population. To date, diagnosis of the disease is mainly based on personal and thus subjective interviews. The underlying molecular mechanism of schizophrenia is poorly understood. Using targeted metabolomics we quantified and compared 103 metabolites in plasma samples from 216 healthy controls and 265 schizophrenic patients, including 52 cases that do not take antipsychotic medication. Compared with healthy controls, levels of five metabolites were found significantly altered in schizophrenic patients (P-values ranged from 2.9 × 10(-8) to 2.5 × 10(-4)) and in neuroleptics-free probands (P-values ranging between 0.006 and 0.03), respectively. These metabolites include four amino acids (arginine, glutamine, histidine and ornithine) and one lipid (PC ae C38:6) and are suggested as candidate biomarkers for schizophrenia. To explore the genetic susceptibility on the associated metabolic pathways, we constructed a molecular network connecting these five aberrant metabolites with 13 schizophrenia risk genes. Our result implicated aberrations in biosynthetic pathways linked to glutamine and arginine metabolism and associated signaling pathways as genetic risk factors, which may contribute to patho-mechanisms and memory deficits associated with schizophrenia. This study illustrated that the metabolic deviations detected in plasma may serve as potential biomarkers to aid diagnosis of schizophrenia.

PMID:
22892715
PMCID:
PMC3432190
DOI:
10.1038/tp.2012.76
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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