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Br J Psychiatry. 1976 Feb;128:184-7.

Catechol O-methyltransferase in red blood cells of schizophrenic, depressed, and normal human subjects.


Catechol O-methyltransferase of lysed human red blood cells was assayed under optimal conditions, using saturating concentrations of the substrates, S-adenosyl-L-methionine and 3-4-dihydroxybenzoic acid. The mean enzyme activity found in 24 normal subjects was 29-2 nmol/hr/ml RBC. The mean activity in blood of 33 female unipolar depressives was not significantly different from normal. However, higher enzyme activities were observed in the blood of 11 schizophrenic patients (38-9 nmol/hr/ml RBC). Partially purified enzyme preparations from blood of normal and schizophrenic individuals were indistinguishable with respect to substrate specificities, isoelectric pH values, and ratios of the two O-methylated products. Therefore it is unlikely that any defect in O-methylation which may occur in schizophrenia can be attributed to a change in the intrinsic properties of erythrocyte catechol O-methyltransferase.

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