Gene-expression analysis of clozapine treatment in whole blood of patients with psychosis

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Abstract

Objectives

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.

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