Disturbance of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)–alpha and oxidative stress status may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, new study results suggest.
In a study published in, the investigators collected blood samples from 119 patients with schizophrenia and 135 controls. Along with TNF-alpha, assays for the oxidative stress markers superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), catalase (CAT), and malondialdehyde (MDA) were measured. The average illness duration in patients with schizophrenia was 8.23 months, and their average total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale score was 87.64, reported Shiguang Zhu of Nanjing (China) Medical University and associates.
Serum levels of TNF-alpha and MDA were significantly higher (P = .007 for both), and GSH-Px levels were significantly lower (P = .005), in patients with schizophrenia, compared with controls, after Bonferroni correction. The interaction between GSH-Px and TNF-alpha was negatively associated with the presence of schizophrenia (odds ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.98-0.99; P = .001), and the interaction between MDA and TNF-alpha was positively associated with schizophrenia risk (OR, 1.61, 95% CI, 1.16-2.24, P = .004).
“It is worth[while] to note that [the] immune-inflammatory and oxidative stress hypothesis are just one of the theories for schizophrenic development, and other neurobiological theories such as neurodevelopmental dysfunction and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis hormones disturbance should be considered,” the investigators wrote. However, their study “suggests that TNF-alpha and disturbance of oxidative stress status as well as their interaction may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.”
The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Medical Engineering Foundation, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, and CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health. The investigators reported that they had no conflicts of interest.
SOURCE: Zhu S et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020 Jan 30. .