Independent protein-profiling studies show a decrease in apolipoprotein A1 levels in schizophrenia CSF, brain and peripheral tissues

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Abstract

Although some insights into the etiology of schizophrenia have been gained, an understanding of the illness at the molecular level remains elusive. Recent advances in proteomic profiling offer great promise for the discovery of markers underlying pathophysiology of diseases. In the present study, we employed two high-throughput proteomic techniques together with traditional methods to investigate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), brain and peripheral tissues (liver, red blood cells and serum) of schizophrenia patients in an attempt to identify peripheral/surrogate disease markers. The cohorts used to investigate each tissue were largely independent, although some CSF and serum samples were collected from the same patient. To address the major confounding factor of antipsychotic drug treatment, we also included a large cohort of first-onset drug-naive patients. Apolipoprotein A1 (apoA1) showed a significant decrease in expression in schizophrenia patients compared to controls in all five tissues examined. Specifically, using SELDI-TOF mass spectrometry, apoA1 was found decreased in CSF from schizophrenia patients (−35%,P=0.00001) and, using 2D-DIGE, apoA1 was also found downregulated in liver (−30%,P=0.02) and RBCs (−60%,P=0.003). Furthermore, we found a significant reduction of apoA1 in sera of first-onset drug-naive schizophrenia patients using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (−18%,P=0.00008) and in two investigations of post-mortem brain tissue using western blot analysis (−35%,P=0.05; −51%,P=0.05). These results show that apoA1 is consistently downregulated in the central nervous system as well as peripheral tissues of schizophrenia patients and may be linked to the underlying disease mechanism.

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