December 20, 2006

Abnormal Proteins Linked to Schizophrenia Found in Body Tissue

A new study suggests biochemical changes associated with schizophrenia aren't limited to the central nervous system and that the disease could have more encompassing effects throughout the body than previously thought. The findings, scheduled for publication in the January 2007 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Proteome Research, could lead to better diagnostic testing for the disease and could help explain why those afflicted with it are more prone to type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic health problems.

Researcher Sabine Bahn, M.D., Ph.D., and her colleagues at Cambridge University in England and the University of Cologne in Germany, detected abnormal proteins linked to schizophrenia in the liver and red blood cells of people who have the disorder. It is the first time the same altered proteins have been detected both within brain tissue as well as in non-brain tissue, according to Bahn.

In time, Bahn says, these protein "biomarkers" could be used to trace the progression of the disease throughout the body.

"If changes in the rest of the body can be observed, and if these changes reflect what is going wrong in the brain, we can use these (findings) to learn about the cellular dysfunction that causes schizophrenia and this will allow us to develop better drugs and diagnostics," Bahn says.

"We desperately need a better understanding of this illness. It is, however, difficult to study the disease, as the brain can't easily be investigated. We can't take multiple biopsies from patients to look at the disease-related changes," Bahn says. "We need a new concept."

While most scientists investigating the disease believe it only affects the brain, Bahn notes that researchers have long known that people who have schizophrenia are at higher risk than the general population for a number of chronic diseases. Some evidence suggests these health problems might be somehow tied to schizophrenia, she adds, but most studies have been inconclusive. Bahn's latest discovery could help bridge this gap.

Recently, Bahn and her colleagues discovered a set of abnormal proteins in post-mortem brains of people who had schizophrenia. In this new study, they sought to detect similarly altered proteins in other organs and tissues of individuals living with the disease. After looking at thousands of proteins, they found that people with schizophrenia had 14 liver proteins and eight red blood cell proteins that were significantly altered compared to individuals who didn't have the disease. These altered proteins were strikingly like those found in the post-mortem brains.

Several of these abnormal proteins appear to promote oxidative stress and disrupt energy metabolism in cells, Bahn says. She theorizes that schizophrenia is caused, at least in part, by these two problems. In her earlier work, for instance, Bahn found evidence that schizophrenic brains might have difficulty producing or using energy properly and are more susceptible to cell-damaging free radicals than healthy brains. The new findings, she says, suggest that the same sort of energy starvation, increased free-radical damage cycle could be occurring in other tissue and, in addition to schizophrenia, possibly be contributing to the onset of other chronic diseases.

Source Research Article: DIGE Analysis of Liver and Red Blood Cells Provides Further Evidence for Oxidative Stress in Schizophrenia

Press Release/Marketing Release Source: The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.


The "abnormal proteins" connection with schizophrenia is heard more often lately.
The human body makes most of its own proteins, but some benefit may come from reducing intake of certain proteins.
One can test reducing intake of peanuts and other nuts, cheese, meat, dairy products, glutamate rich food, etc.
There are many different types of schizophrenia and many different types of proteins that can be regulated, either via medication or diet.
More research is needed.

Posted by: freezotic at December 21, 2006 12:20 AM

Naturally, a cell that isn't able to produce correct proteins isn't going to function properly. Receptors on the surface of the cell might begin to act strangely. Proteins that aid in the duplication of DNA as well as the alteration of genetic expression could begin to malfunction.
This protein theory makes a lot of sense in my understanding of the disease. It will be very interesting to see how fruitful these findings become in the next 10 years.

Posted by: Cory Schulz at December 21, 2006 02:27 PM

Could you provide a weblink to this news? I can't seem to find it on The American Chemical Society website.

Posted by: CopperKettle at December 22, 2006 04:40 AM

Its here CK:

Posted by: szadmin at December 22, 2006 10:46 AM

Here's the abstract of the publication:

"DIGE Analysis of Liver and Red Blood Cells Provides Further Evidence for Oxidative Stress in Schizophrenia "

Posted by: CopperKettle at December 23, 2006 08:10 PM

I'd would be interested to know if this "abnormal protein" is the expression of HERV-W, and why the author of this snippet is so incredibly vague. There are literally millions of different kinds of proteins it could be talking about, and to label one "abnormal" simply because they only found it in the cadaver of a schizo seems somehow less than scientific. As to the argument about the semantical value of the word "normal" when used in reference to a schizophrenic... that's another thread, and I could spend all day trying to figure out who exactly is this "normal" person anyway and why everyone should be exactly like them. Suffice to say that the stigma of schizophrenia is probably at least as great of a cause for poor health as anything actually involved in the disease. How depressing is it that schizophrenics are treated like they have leprosy and shunned, or loved less than unaffected family members, and what effect does this added depression have on the diet, exercise levels, and emotional health of the scizophrenic? Why isn't anyone asking?
Schizophrenia must be the only mental illness for which studies have been advanced more by the patients than their doctors. Is every difference really a disease? When can I sign up for the pills that make me an accountant?

Posted by: Mnemomeme at January 5, 2007 05:44 PM

your research fits with some other research being carried out by the Ness Foundation located in Scotland. they have found the free radical problem and oxidative stress has an effect on the cell membrane of neurons in the brain. EPA 3 with vit c and vit e has made a difference. Go to there web site it's most interesting.

Posted by: Margaret Pain at March 8, 2007 05:39 AM

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