Is adenosine associated with sudden death in schizophrenia? A new framework linking the adenosine pathway to risk of sudden death

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Abstract

Schizophrenia is associated with an increased mortality from cardiovascular disease. Relatively few studies have assessed the putative association of schizophrenia pathophysiology with sudden death. Low adenosine levels have been associated with schizophrenia. In cardiology, increased mortality among patients with congestive heart failure has been associated with genetic polymorphisms that potentially lead to lower adenosine levels. Thus, we hypothesize that adenosine could link schizophrenia and cardiovascular mortality, with decreased adenosine levels leading to increased vulnerability to hyperexcitability following hypoxic insults, increasing the odds of fatal arrhythmias. Low adenosine levels might also lead to a small increase in overall mortality rates and a major increase in the sudden death rate. This hypothesis paves the way for further investigation of the increased cardiac mortality associated with schizophrenia. Potentially, a better characterization of adenosine-related mechanisms of sudden death in schizophrenia could lead to new evidence of factors leading to sudden death in the general population.

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