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Psychiatry Res. 1998 Jul 27;80(1):29-39.

Reduced level of plasma antioxidant uric acid in schizophrenia.

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VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, PA 15206-1297, USA.


There is evidence of dysregulation of the antioxidant defense system in schizophrenia. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether uric acid, a potent antioxidant, is reduced in the plasma of patients with schizophrenia. To this end, a within-subject, repeated measures, on-off-on haloperidol treatment design was utilized. Male schizophrenic patients with either a haloperidol treatment (n=47) or a drug-free condition (n=35) had significantly lower levels of plasma uric acid than the age- and sex-matched normal control subjects (n=34). Following haloperidol withdrawal, plasma uric acid levels were further reduced in schizophrenic patients (P=0.018; paired t-test, n=35). However, no relationship was found between uric acid levels and the length of the drug-free period (< 5 or > 5 weeks) or days drug free. In addition, the plasma levels of uric acid in patient groups were significantly and inversely correlated with psychosis. There was a trend for lower uric acid levels in relapsed patients relative to clinically stable patients. Smoking, which can modify plasma antioxidant capacity, was not found to have prominent effects on uric acid levels. The present finding of a significant decrease of a selective antioxidant provides additional support to the hypothesis that oxidative stress in schizophrenia may be due to a defect in the antioxidant defense system.

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