Original Investigation

Psychopharmacology

, Volume 204, Issue 1, pp 177-184

Superoxide dismutase and cytokines in chronic patients with schizophrenia: association with psychopathology and response to antipsychotics

  • Xiang Yang ZhangAffiliated withMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of MedicineCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan HospitalMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, VA Medical Center Email author 
  • , Dong Feng ZhouAffiliated withInstitute of Mental Health, Peking University
  • , Ling Yan QiAffiliated withCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital
  • , Song ChenAffiliated withCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital
  • , Lian Yuan CaoAffiliated withCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital
  • , Da Chun ChenAffiliated withCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital
  • , Mei Hong XiuAffiliated withCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital
  • , Fan WangAffiliated withCenter for Biological Psychiatry, Beijing HuiLongGuan Hospital
  • , Gui Ying WuAffiliated withMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine
    • , Lin LuAffiliated withNational Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University
    • , Therese A. KostenAffiliated withMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine
    • , Thomas R. KostenAffiliated withMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of MedicineMenninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, VA Medical Center Email author 

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Abstract

Objective

Both schizophrenia and oxidative stress have been associated with immune system abnormalities in interleukin-2 and -6 (IL-2; IL-6) and increases in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. These abnormalities may improve during antipsychotic drug treatment that reduces symptoms in schizophrenic patients.

Materials and methods

Subjects included 30 healthy controls (HC) and 78 schizophrenic (SCH) in-patients who were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of double-blind treatment with risperidone 6 mg/day or haloperidol 20 mg/day. Ratings using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) were correlated with blood SOD and serum IL-2 levels.

Results

SCH patients who were medication-free for 2 weeks had greater SOD, IL-2, and IL-6 levels than HC. At baseline, these SOD elevations were associated with higher PANSS total scores and the IL-2 elevations with lower PANSS positive symptom scores. The SOD and IL-2 levels in the SCH were also positively correlated. After treatment, PANSS positive symptoms and both SOD and IL-2 showed a significant decrease, but IL-6 showed no change. The SOD and IL-2 reductions were correlated with the reductions in PANSS total score, and SOD reductions also correlated with positive subscore reductions. Females showed these associations more strongly than males.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that the dysregulation in the cytokine system and oxidative stress in patients with schizophrenia is implicated in clinical symptoms and is improved at least partially with antipsychotic treatment. The stronger associations in females deserve further study and confirmation.

Keywords

Schizophrenia Immune Cytokine Oxidative stress Antioxidant enzymes Antipsychotic Psychopathology