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Serum epidermal growth factor levels are reduced in people with treatment resistant schizophrenia and modulated by clozapine treatment.

Serum epidermal growth factor levels are reduced in people with treatment resistant schizophrenia and modulated by clozapine treatment.

Up to 45% of patients with schizophrenia are treatment resistant to conventional drugs leaving clozapine as the only effective option. Its severe side-effects however limit it to a late stage option and the development of a biomarker to predict treatment response would be of high clinical utility. Our previous data demonstrate clozapine augments epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling and hence we examined if EGF levels may be altered in treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS) and are influenced by clozapine treatment. Study objectives: To determine if EGF levels are influenced by clozapine in TRS and can serve as a biomarker for clozapine response.

Serum EGF levels were measured by ELISA in patients with TRS at baseline, 2, 6 and 26 weeks of clozapine treatment and in age and sexed matched healthy controls. Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and CGI data were collected at baseline, 6 and 26 weeks. Results: In the patient group, the mean reduction in total PANSS score was 20.4 and CGI was 1.82 (n=56). Twenty-six (46%) patients responded (=20% reduction in PANSS score). Mean EGF levels at base line were 272pg/ml (±223, SD), at 2weeks 242pg/ml (±190), at 6 weeks 400pg/ml (±228) and at 26 weeks 409pg/ml (±275). These values were significantly (p<0.01) lower than that of the controls (mean 749pg/ml ±328). Mean EGF levels increased over the 26 weeks in patients by 169% (±269) and this became significant by 6 (P=0.013) and 26 weeks (P=0.019). There were no significant main correlations between EGF levels and clinical response.

EGF levels were significantly decreased in people with TRS and were significantly increased with clozapine treatment indicating that clozapine is able to modulate the EGF system in patients. There was however no relationship with symptom change suggesting it is unlikely to be a suitable biomarker for clozapine response.

Conference: ASC2013, MAPrc
Areas of Interest / Categories: ASC 2013, MAPrc 2014

MAPrc 2014

The effect of symptomatic improvement on gamma synchrony in psychosis: a pilot study.

Impaired functional connectivity, as measured by synchronous gamma activity, has been observed in both the early and chronic stages of schizophrenia, as well as in unaffected first-degree relatives. This suggests gamma synchrony may be a trait-like marker of psychosis susceptibility, and not just a state-dependant characteristic. To conduct a pilot study into the short-term temporal stability of gamma synchrony and its relationship to symptomatic improvement in young patients who have been treated for recent onset psychosis. 20 medicated subjects underwent both clinical (PANSS) and electrophysiological (auditory oddball task during EEG) evaluation at both baseline and 8 weeks follow-up.

The effect of symptomatic improvement on gamma synchrony in psychosis: a pilot study.

Impaired functional connectivity, as measured by synchronous gamma activity, has been observed in both the early and chronic stages of schizophrenia, as well as in unaffected first-degree relatives. This suggests gamma synchrony may be a trait-like marker of psychosis susceptibility, and not just a state-dependant characteristic. To conduct a pilot study into the short-term temporal stability of gamma synchrony and its relationship to symptomatic improvement in young patients who have been treated for recent onset psychosis. 20 medicated subjects underwent both clinical (PANSS) and electrophysiological (auditory oddball task during EEG) evaluation at both baseline and 8 weeks follow-up.

Cerebral cortical grey matter deficits in schizophrenia and their associations with ageing, psychopathology, cognition and treatment response.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia lacks a broadly accepted biological basis and its heterogeneity may well represent a group of disorders with different aetiologies. Even so, brain imaging can map and quantify structural brain abnormalities in vivo as an intermediate (or endo-) phenotype of the disorder. To identify the degree of regional grey matter deficits in relation to age, the severity of psychopathology and cognitive/ neurological impairment, and treatment response in schizophrenia. Eighteen schizophrenia patients (32.2 years [SD 14.3], meeting DSM-IV criteria were examined. Eighteen pair-wise age (±2 years) and gender-matched healthy volunteers (31.9 years [SD 14.3]) served as control group.

Keeping the Body in Mind: Exercise Physiology Services within a Community-based Early Psychosis Treatment Program

People with first episode psychosis (FEP) are prone to significant weight gain and metabolic abnormalities in the early stages of treatment putting them at significant risk of developing physical co-morbidities, including type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. These co-morbidities reduce quality of life and life expectancy within this population. Despite known benefits of regular exercise including anxiolytic and anti-depressive effects, very low treatment adherence within FEP programs limits the effectiveness of exercise as a potential intervention. Determining the characteristics of FEP patients who frequently participate in a facilitated exercise program may assist in the development of strategies aimed at improving adherence. To determine the characteristics of frequent users of a facilitated exercise program.

Cardiometabolic risk indicators at 18-64 years in Australians with psychosis

Individuals with psychosis have an elevated risk for heart disease and are more likely to die prematurely from heart disease than the general population. The age at which cardiovascular risk indicators are first elevated relative to the general population is unknown. Mean waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and total cholesterol were plotted by age and sex in a representative sample of 1,642 individuals with psychosis (aged 18+) who were in contact with mental health services and 11,247 controls (aged 25+) from the general population. Correlations between risk indicators were compared between samples.

Role of intracellular mediators in clozapine induced ErbB1-ERK signalling in prefrontal cortical neurons: relevance to therapeutic efficacy.

Dysregulation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) system, implicated in synaptic plasticity, long-term potentiation and dendritic spine connectivity has been linked to schizophrenia. For instance, in patient brain and blood low EGF levels resulting in compensatory up-regulation of the EGF receptor (ErbB1) is postulated to represent a hypofunctioning signalling state. Consistent with this hypothesis our preclinical in vitro and in vivo data demonstrate that the antipsychotic drug clozapine increases ErbB1 signalling via G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) transactivation in prefrontal cortex and striatum1,2,3. The clozapine induced increase in ErbB1 signalling results in delayed activation of the extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) pathway with downstream activation of the transcription factors, p90RSK and c-Fos.

The effect of Ketamine on striatal functional connectivity as a model for risk for psychosis.

Ketamine is a potent antagonist of the N-methyld-aspartate receptor that induces positive psychotic symptoms in healthy individuals reminiscent of those seen in people with schizophrenia. Ketamine is believed to act by imposing a broad modulatory effect on brain networks, particularly cortico-striatothalamic circuitry. To investigate the effect of a sub-anaesthetic dose of ketamine on the resting-state functional connectivity of dorsal and ventral corticostriatal circuits, structures that have strongly been implicated in the emergence of psychotic symptoms, and to characterize the symptom correlates of putative changes in cortico-striato-thalamic functional connectivity induced by ketamine infusion.