Oxidative stress has been suggested to be involved in schizophrenia, but studies have demonstrated inconsistent results on oxidative stress marker level/activity in patients with schizophrenia. In order to clarify the circulating oxidative stress marker level/activity in patients with schizophrenia, this study recruited 80 schizophrenia patients (40 first-episode, drug-free and 40 chronically medicated patients) and 80 controls to analyze serum activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), and levels of lipid peroxidation marker malondialdehyde (MDA) in schizophrenia patients, and whether they associate with the severity of the disease. We showed that only serum GSH-Px activity was significantly reduced in unmedicated patients with schizophrenia when compared with control subjects, whereas the other three analyzed oxidative stress markers did not show significant differences between cases and controls. Moreover, our results demonstrated that chronic medication increased GSH-Px activity and MDA levels in patients with schizophrenia, but reduced SOD activity in the patients. We also found that short-term antipsychotic treatments on the patients with schizophrenia reduced the SOD activity. Correlation analyses indicated that the oxidative stress marker activity/level is not significantly associated with the severity of schizophrenia, except that SOD level correlated with PANSS positive score significantly. Taken together, the data from the present study suggested that the dysfunctions of oxidative stress markers in patients with schizophrenia were mainly caused by antipsychotics, emphasizing increased oxidative stress as a potential side effect of antipsychotics on the patients.
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This study was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (81703492), Beijing Natural Science Foundation (7182092), the Minzu University Research Fund (2018CXTD03), and the MUC 111 project.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Before inclusion in this study, all participants gave written informed consent. The study protocol has been approved by the Ethics Committee at The Third Hospital of Fuoshan, Fuoshan, China, and the experiments were conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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