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Changes in the Composition, Structure, and Metabolism of Erythrocyte Membranes in Schizophrenia and Other Psychopathologies

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Abstract

Changes in the lipid-protein composition and structural/metabolic properties of erythrocyte membranes were analyzed in 18 patients with heboid paranoia examined in the period of exacerbation of this disease, as well as in 24 patients with mental retardation and in 24 patients with neurotic disorders. The control group included 45 mentally and somatically healthy persons. In our study, we used the following techniques: thin-layer chromatography, fluorochrome assay, measuring of Na+,K+-ATPase activity and level of lipid peroxidation, separation of the membrane proteins by electrophoresis, and transmission electron microscopy. In the erythrocyte membranes of patients with exacerbated heboid paranoia, who obtained no psychopharmacological correction before the examination, we observed clear increases in the relative amounts of cholesterol and lysophosphatidylcholine, drops in the levels of phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine, a rise in the microviscosity of the lipid phase, marked disorganization of the membrane protein spectrum, and a significant decrease in Na+,K+-ATPase activity accompanied by ultrastructural manifestations of damage to the erythrocyte membranes. Comparison of the structural and metabolic properties of erythrocyte membranes in schizophrenic patients with those in patients with exogenous mental retardation and neurotic disorders showed that an overwhelming part of the observed changes in the indices under study were similar in their direction, and intergroup differences were of a quantitative character. These data allow us to postulate that disorganization of the cell membranes in the extracerebral cellular systems in schizophrenia and other mental disorders is, on the one hand, significant and, on the other hand, nonspecific.

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Ryazantseva, N.V., Novitsky, V.V., Vlasova, N.M. et al. Changes in the Composition, Structure, and Metabolism of Erythrocyte Membranes in Schizophrenia and Other Psychopathologies. Neurophysiology 34, 332–341 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023082818190

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