Sex differences in lipid peroxidation and fatty acid levels in recent onset schizophrenia

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Sex differences in the symptomatology and course of illness have been reported among schizophrenic patients. Hence, the principal objective of the present study was to investigate sex differences in the concentrations of the lipid peroxidation metabolites MDA and 4-HNE, and in the membrane phospholipid levels of ARA, EPA and DHA in patients with schizophrenia. A total of 46 paranoid schizophrenics (25 women) with short-term evolution who were in an acute psychotic stage and 40 healthy controls (23 women) participated in the study. Psychopathology was evaluated by BPRS and PANSS. Lipid peroxidation sub-products (MDA, 4-HNE) and fatty acid levels (ARA, EPA, DHA) were determined in erythrocyte membranes. The men in both groups showed higher lipid peroxidation levels and those values were higher in schizophrenic patients than controls, with only EPA fatty acid concentrations found to be lower in the former than the latter. These results suggest that men may suffer greater oxidative neuronal damage than women, and that this could worsen the course of illness and result in greater disease severity.


▪ Lipid peroxidation products and fatty acid levels were determined in erythrocyte membranes. ▪ Men showed higher lipid peroxidation levels than women. ▪ Schizophrenic patients showed higher levels than controls. ▪ EPA fatty acid concentrations were lower in schizophrenic patients. ▪ There are sex differences in oxidative stress in schizophrenia.

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