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Oxytocin levels in individuals with schizophrenia are high in cerebrospinal fluid but low in serum: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Oxytocin and Schizophrenia

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness. Levels of oxytocin have been proposed as a biomarker of schizophrenia; however, the observed levels of oxytocin in individuals with schizophrenia have been inconsistent across studies. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate oxytocin levels in plasma, serum and cerebrospinal fluid to see if there are statistically different concentrations between individuals with schizophrenia and the comparison group. The meta-analysis followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Following the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 14 studies were included in the meta-analysis. The quality of the study was evaluated by the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale (NOS). A random-effects model was performed using the Comprehensive Meta-analysis software with the standardized mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Serum oxytocin levels in individuals with schizophrenia were significantly lower than that in comparison group (SMD =  − 1.74, 95% CI =  − 3.22 to − 0.26, p = 0.02) but cerebrospinal fluid oxytocin levels in individuals with schizophrenia were significantly higher than those in the comparison group (SMD = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.05 to 1.04, p = 0.03). Our results suggest that oxytocin levels in cerebrospinal fluid are increased in individuals with schizophrenia but decreased in serum. Therefore, the oxytocin system dysregulation may play a role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and it should be measured in more populations for a possible implementation as a biomarker of schizophrenia.

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Data availability

Data is available upon request.

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Authors

Contributions

YHD, TBGC, CATZ and IEJR participated in planning the study, data analysis, and drafting the manuscript. RGCA and MARM assisted and helped in all analysis. MLLN and ADGM supervised the study, participated in data analysis, and drafted the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Carlos Alfonso Tovilla-Zárate.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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All the authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Hernández-Díaz, Y., González-Castro, T.B., Tovilla-Zárate, C.A. et al. Oxytocin levels in individuals with schizophrenia are high in cerebrospinal fluid but low in serum: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Metab Brain Dis (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11011-021-00836-y

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Keywords

  • Oxytocin
  • Schizophrenia
  • serum
  • Cerebrospinal fluid