, Volume 204, Issue 1, pp 177–184 | Cite as

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

  • Xiang Yang Zhang
  • Dong Feng Zhou
  • Ling Yan Qi
  • Song Chen
  • Lian Yuan Cao
  • Da Chun Chen
  • Mei Hong Xiu
  • Fan Wang
  • Gui Ying Wu
  • Lin Lu
  • Therese A. Kosten
  • Thomas R. Kosten
Original Investigation



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.


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.


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.


Schizophrenia Immune Cytokine Oxidative stress Antioxidant enzymes Antipsychotic Psychopathology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiang Yang Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
  • Dong Feng Zhou
    • 2
  • Ling Yan Qi
    • 3
  • Song Chen
    • 3
  • Lian Yuan Cao
    • 3
  • Da Chun Chen
    • 3
  • Mei Hong Xiu
    • 3
  • Fan Wang
    • 3
  • Gui Ying Wu
    • 1
  • Lin Lu
    • 4
  • Therese A. Kosten
    • 1
  • Thomas R. Kosten
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Mental HealthPeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Center for Biological PsychiatryBeijing HuiLongGuan HospitalBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.National Institute on Drug DependencePeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of MedicineVA Medical CenterHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of MedicineVA Medical CenterHoustonUSA

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