Issue Date: January 22, 2007
Possible biomarkers for schizophrenia
Biomarkers found in blood could lead to the development of a simple lab test for schizophrenia. The disease, which doesn't have a known cause, is currently diagnosed by clinicians who assess a patient's behavioral abnormalities and other symptoms. Sabine Bahn of the University of Cambridge and her colleagues there and at the University of Cologne, in Germany, report that people with schizophrenia have multiple protein abnormalities in their red blood cells and in liver tissue (J. Proteome Res. 2007, 6, 141). Bahn had previously identified similar protein abnormalities in the brain tissue of deceased patients. If the protein changes in blood and liver tissue "reflect what is going wrong in the brain," Bahn says, the new findings could shed light on the "cellular dysfunction that causes schizophrenia." Several of the affected proteins promote oxidative stress and interfere with energy metabolism in cells, backing the authors' hypothesis that these processes are involved in the disease.
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