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Psychiatry Res. 2019 Jan;271:459-463. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.012. Epub 2018 Dec 3.

First-episode schizophrenia is associated with a reduction of HERV-K methylation in peripheral blood.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Pomeranian Medical University, Broniewskiego 26 Street, 71-460 Szczecin, Poland. Electronic address: monika.mak@gmail.com.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Pomeranian Medical University, Broniewskiego 26 Street, 71-460 Szczecin, Poland. Electronic address: samoj@pum.edu.pl.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Wroclaw Medical University, Pasteura 10 Street, 50-367 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: dfrydecka@gmail.com.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Pomeranian Medical University, Broniewskiego 26 Street, 71-460 Szczecin, Poland. Electronic address: wysiecki@wp.pl.
5
Department of Genetics, Wroclaw Medical University, Marcinkowskiego 1 Street, 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: e.szmida@gmail.com.
6
Department of Genetics, Wroclaw Medical University, Marcinkowskiego 1 Street, 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: polemiraza@poczta.fm.
7
Department of Genetics, Wroclaw Medical University, Marcinkowskiego 1 Street, 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: maria.sasiadek@umed.wroc.pl.
8
Department of Psychiatry, Wroclaw Medical University, Pasteura 10 Street, 50-367 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: patryk.piotrowski@umed.wroc.pl.
9
Department of Clinical Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Krakowska 69 Street, University of Szczecin, 71-017 Szczecin, Poland. Electronic address: samoaga@tlen.pl.
10
Department of Genetics, Wroclaw Medical University, Marcinkowskiego 1 Street, 50-368 Wroclaw, Poland. Electronic address: blazej_misiak@interia.pl.

Abstract

Human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) have been widely associated with schizophrenia etiology. Aberrant epigenetic processes may play a role in the etiology of schizophrenia. In this study, we tested whether schizophrenia patients at different stages of illness might present alterations in the levels of HERV-K methylation. We recruited 49 first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients with 47 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs), and 100 multi-episode schizophrenia (MES) patients with 50 age- and sex-matched HCs. Based on the Schedule for Deficit Schizophrenia, patients with MES were also divided into two subgroups: deficit (D-SCZ) and non-deficit schizophrenia (ND-SCZ). DNA methylation levels of HERV-K sequences were examined in peripheral blood leukocytes. We found significantly lower levels of HERV-K methylation in FES patients compared to HCs. Patients with MES and matched HCs had similar levels of HERV-K methylation. There was a significant positive correlation between chlorpromazine equivalent dosage and HERV-K methylation levels in MES patients, but not in FES individuals. No significant differences in HERV-K methylation levels between D-SCZ and ND-SCZ as well as HCs were found. Our results indicate lower HERV-K methylation levels at early stages of schizophrenia. This difference might normalize with subsequent exacerbations of schizophrenia, likely due to the effects of antipsychotics.

KEYWORDS:

Epigenetics; Immunity; Inflammation; Psychosis; Retrovirus

PMID:
30537669
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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