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Schizophr Res Treatment. 2014;2014:719395. doi: 10.1155/2014/719395. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Vascular endothelial growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in quetiapine treated first-episode psychosis.

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Early in Life Mental Health Service, Southern Health, Melbourne, VIC 3175, Australia ; School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia.
Howard Florey Institute, Florey Neuroscience Institutes, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia.
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia.
St. Davnet's Hospital, Monaghan, County Monaghan, Ireland.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Zurich, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland.



It has been suggested that atypical antipsychotics confer their effects via brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). We investigated the effect of quetiapine on serum levels of BDNF and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in drug-naive first-episode psychosis subjects.


Fifteen patients drawn from a larger study received quetiapine treatment for twelve weeks. Baseline levels of serum BDNF and VEGF were compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls and to levels following treatment. Linear regression analyses were performed to determine the relationship of BDNF and VEGF levels with outcome measures at baseline and week 12.


The mean serum BDNF level was significantly higher at week 12 compared to baseline and correlated with reductions in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and general psychopathology scores. Changes in serum VEGF levels also correlated significantly with a reduction in BPRS scores, a significant improvement in PANNS positive symptoms scores, and displayed a positive relationship with changes in BDNF levels.


Our findings suggest that BDNF and VEGF are potential biomarkers for gauging improvement of psychotic symptoms. This suggests a novel neurotrophic-based mechanism of the drug effects of quetiapine on psychosis. This is the first report of VEGF perturbation in psychosis.

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