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BMC Psychiatry

, 11:124

Psychotic disorders


BackgroundThe aim of this study was to determine glutathione levels and antioxidant enzyme activities in the drug-naive first-episode patients with schizophrenia in comparison with healthy control subjects.

MethodsIt was a case-controlled study carried on twenty-three patients 20 men and 3 women, mean age = 29.3 ± 7.5 years recruited in their first-episode of schizophrenia and 40 healthy control subjects 36 men and 9 women, mean age = 29.6 ± 6.2 years. In patients, the blood samples were obtained prior to the initiation of neuroleptic treatments. Glutathione levels: total glutathione GSHt, reduced glutathione GSHr and oxidized glutathione GSSG and antioxidant enzyme activities: superoxide dismutase SOD, glutathione peroxidase GPx, catalase CAT were determined by spectrophotometry.

ResultsGSHt and reduced GSHr were significantly lower in patients than in controls, whereas GSSG was significantly higher in patients. GPx activity was significantly higher in patients compared to control subjects. CAT activity was significantly lower in patients, whereas the SOD activity was comparable to that of controls.

ConclusionThis is a report of decreased plasma levels of GSHt and GSHr, and impaired antioxidant enzyme activities in drug-naive first-episode patients with schizophrenia. The GSH deficit seems to be implicated in psychosis, and may be an important indirect biomarker of oxidative stress in schizophrenia early in the course of illness. Finally, our results provide support for further studies of the possible role of antioxidants as neuroprotective therapeutic strategies for schizophrenia from early stages.

AbbreviationsAODSAntioxidant defense system


DSM-IV-TRDiagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders


GPxGlutathione peroxidise

GSHrReduced glutathione

GSHtTotal glutathione

GSSGOxidized glutathione



RBCRed blood cell

SANSScale for assessment of negative symptoms

SAPSScale for assessment of positive symptoms

SDStandard deviation

SODSuperoxide dismutase.

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Author: Monia Raffa - Fatma Atig - Ahmed Mhalla - Abdelhamid Kerkeni - Anwar Mechri


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