Decreased serum neurotrophin 3 in chronically medicated schizophrenic males
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There is evidence that major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia (SZ) are associated with deregulation of synaptic plasticity with downstream alterations of neurotrophins. NT3 is an important neurotrophin in the central nervous system, and performs key biological functions, such as promoting the survival, differentiation, and plasticity of neurons. NT3 has a central role in the early neuronal development; enhancing the survival of dopaminergic neurons, suggesting possible involvement in the physiopathology of dopamine related neuropsychiatric disorders such as SZ. Variations in the NT3 gene increase the risk of SZ. Three groups of chronically medicated DSM-IV patients with SZ, on treatment with clozapine (n=12), haloperidol (n=12), risperidone (n=12) and 10 healthy controls had 5 ml blood samples collected by venipuncture. NT3 serum levels were assessed using sandwich-ELISA and were significantly lower in SZ patients (p<0.005) when compared to either controls. These findings suggest that the NT3 signaling system may play a role in the pathophysiology of SZ and might be related to the course of illness or to treatment variables. Longitudinal studies are warranted.
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