Identification of Subgroups of Schizophrenia Patients With Changes in Either Immune or Growth Factor and Hormonal Pathways

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Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disorder normally diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria. However, these criteria do not necessarily reflect differences in underlying molecular abnormalities of the disorder. Here, we have used multiplexed immunoassay analyses to measure immune molecules, growth factors, and hormones important to schizophrenia in acutely ill antipsychotic-naive patients (n = 180) and matched controls (n = 398). We found that using the resulting molecular profiles, we were capable of separating schizophrenia patients into 2 significantly distinct subgroups with predominant molecular abnormalities in either immune molecules or growth factors and hormones. These molecular profiles were tested using an independent cohort, and this showed the same separation into 2 subgroups. This suggests that distinct abnormalities occur in specific molecular pathways in schizophrenia patients. This may be of relevance for intervention studies that specifically target particular molecular mechanisms and could be a first step to further define the complex schizophrenia syndrome based on molecular profiles.

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