Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone levels are strongly increased in schizophrenia

Flavia Di Michele, Carlo Caltagirone, Giuseppina Bonaviri, Elena Romeo, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Dehydroepiandrosterone has been recently recognized as neuroactive steroid with several vital neurophysiological activities on membrane receptors, such as N-methyl-d-aspartate, and γ-aminobutyric acid receptors and on genomic androgen receptors. DHEA does also have an antiglucocorticoid effect. So far, the relevance of this neuroactive steroid to psychiatric disorders is not well known. In this study, plasma levels of DHEA were determined with a highly sensitive and specific gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry method in 23 outpatients suffering from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV schizophrenia compared with 23 healthy control subjects matched for age and sex. Plasma levels of DHEA were found to be strongly elevated in the group of schizophrenic patients (mean ± SD = 90.9 ± 61.4 nmol/l) compared to that of control subjects (mean ± SD = 24.0 ± 17.9 nmol/l) and the difference was highly significant (t = 5.018, df = 44, p <0.0001). This statistically significant difference was also found when we divided the groups of schizophrenics and controls in subgroups of males (t = 4.536, df = 24, p = 0.0001) and females (t = 2.777, df = 18, p = 0.0124). These results suggest that DHEA may have some role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia due to its complex mechanism of action in the brain involving genomic and non-genomic components. Therefore, its study may provide further understanding of the pathophysiology of psychoses and open new avenues for their treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2005

Fingerprint

Dehydroepiandrosterone
Schizophrenia
Steroids
Aminobutyrates
Androgen Receptors
Aspartic Acid
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Psychotic Disorders
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
Psychiatry
Healthy Volunteers
Outpatients
Control Groups
Membranes
Brain

Keywords

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Gender
  • Neuroactive steroids
  • Pathophysiology
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone levels are strongly increased in schizophrenia. / Di Michele, Flavia; Caltagirone, Carlo; Bonaviri, Giuseppina; Romeo, Elena; Spalletta, Gianfranco.

In: Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 39, No. 3, 05.2005, p. 267-273.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Di Michele, Flavia ; Caltagirone, Carlo ; Bonaviri, Giuseppina ; Romeo, Elena ; Spalletta, Gianfranco. / Plasma dehydroepiandrosterone levels are strongly increased in schizophrenia. In: Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2005 ; Vol. 39, No. 3. pp. 267-273.
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