Clozapine is an atypical antipsychotic primarily prescribed for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. We tested the specific effect of clozapine versus other drug treatments on whole-blood gene expression in a sample of patients with psychosis from the UK.Methods
A total of 186 baseline whole-blood samples from individuals receiving treatment for established psychosis were analysed for gene expression on Illumina HumanHT-12.v4 BeadChips. After standard quality-control procedures, 152 samples remained, including 55 from individuals receiving clozapine. In a within-case study design, weighted gene correlation network analysis was used to identify modules of coexpressed genes. The influence of mood stabilizers, lithium carbonate/lithium citrate and sodium valproate was studied to identify their possible roles as confounders.Results
Individuals receiving clozapine as their only antipsychotic (clozapine monotherapy) had a nominal association with one gene-expression module, whereas no significant change in gene expression was found for other drugs.Conclusion
Overall, this study does not provide evidence that clozapine treatment induces medium to large different gene-expression patterns in human whole blood versus other antipsychotic treatments. This does not rule out the possibility of smaller effects as observed for other common antipsychotic treatments.