Arginine vasopressin improves the memory deficits in Han Chinese patients with first-episode schizophrenia
The memory impairment is a core deficit in the first-episode schizophrenia patients. Arginine vasopressin (AVP) in the brain can improve learning and memory. We performed multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group clinical trial to study the cognitive functioning in Han Chinese first-episode schizophrenic patients in a 12-week treatment regime with the intranasal administration of AVP (128 cases) or placebo (131 cases) in addition to the conventional treatment. The methods of positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS), Wechsler memory scale-4th edition (WMS-IV) and event-related potential (ERP) were used to study the effects of AVP on the cognitive function. The results showed that (1) AVP concentration decreased in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the right-handed Han Chinese first-episode schizophrenic patients comparing with that of the health volunteers (7.1 ± 1.5 pg/ml vs 13.3 ± 1.9 pg/ml, p < 0.01), and did not change in plasma; (2) AVP significantly improved PANSS scores including total scores, positive symptoms, negative symptoms and general psychopathology comparing with those of the placebo group; (3) AVP elevated WMS-IV scores including the long-term memory (accumulation), short-term memory (recognition, comprehension), immediate memory (number recitation) and memory quotient 4, 8 and 12 weeks after treatment; and (4) AVP did not influence the latency and wave amplitude of target stimulus of P300 of right-handed Han Chinese first-episode schizophrenic patients. The data suggested that AVP might improve cognitive process, such as memorizing and extraction of the information although there were many changes of cognitive functions in the right-handed Han Chinese first-episode schizophrenic patients.