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Schizophr Res. 2018 Jan;191:80-86. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2017.07.008. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Treatment in early psychosis with N-acetyl-cysteine for 6months improves low-level auditory processing: Pilot study.

Author information

1
The LINE (Laboratory for Investigative Neurophysiology), Radiodiagnostic Service, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; Neuropsychology and Neurorehabilitation Service and Radiodiagnostic Service, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.
2
The LINE (Laboratory for Investigative Neurophysiology), Radiodiagnostic Service, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; Neuropsychology and Neurorehabilitation Service and Radiodiagnostic Service, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; The EEG Brain Mapping Core, Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.
3
Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland; Service of General Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland.
4
Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland.
5
Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland; Service of General Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland; Psychiatric Liaison Service, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland.
6
Service of General Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Prilly-Lausanne, Switzerland.
7
The LINE (Laboratory for Investigative Neurophysiology), Radiodiagnostic Service, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; Neuropsychology and Neurorehabilitation Service and Radiodiagnostic Service, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; The EEG Brain Mapping Core, Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM), University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland; Department of Ophthalmology, University of Lausanne, Fondation Asile des Aveugles, Lausanne, Switzerland; Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA. Electronic address: micah.murray@chuv.ch.

Abstract

Sensory impairments constitute core dysfunctions in schizophrenia. In the auditory modality, impaired mismatch negativity (MMN) has been observed in chronic schizophrenia and may reflect N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) hypo-function, consistent with models of schizophrenia based on oxidative stress. Moreover, a recent study demonstrated deficits in the N100 component of the auditory evoked potential (AEP) in early psychosis patients. Previous work has shown that add-on administration of the glutathione precursor N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) improves the MMN and clinical symptoms in chronic schizophrenia. To date, it remains unknown whether NAC also improves general low-level auditory processing and if its efficacy would extend to early-phase psychosis. We addressed these issues with a randomized, double-blind study of a small sample (N=15) of early psychosis (EP) patients and 18 healthy controls from whom AEPs were recorded during an active, auditory oddball task. Patients were recorded twice: once prior to NAC/placebo administration and once after six months of treatment. The N100 component was significantly smaller in patients before NAC administration versus controls. Critically, NAC administration improved this AEP deficit. Source estimations revealed increased activity in the left temporo-parietal lobe in patients after NAC administration. Overall, the data from this pilot study, which call for replication in a larger sample, indicate that NAC improves low-level auditory processing in early psychosis.

KEYWORDS:

Auditory; Auditory evoked potential; Glutathione; Mismatch negativity; N-acetyl-cysteine; Redox

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