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Leukocyte telomere length variation in different stages of schizophrenia.

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Published:20th Oct 2017
Author: Maurya PK, Rizzo LB, Xavier G, Tempaku PF, Ota VK, Santoro ML et al.
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Ref.:J Psychiatr Res. 2017;96:218-223.

Recent research has demonstrated that telomere maintenance might be a key integrating point for the cumulative effect of genetic and environmental factors in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and schizophrenia (SCZ). Eighty-one participants with antipsychotic-naïve FEP, 173 with SCZ and 438 HC were enrolled in this study. Psychiatric diagnosis was assessed using the Semi-Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis-I (SCID-I).

The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) and Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) were used to measure symptoms severity. Telomere length (TL) was determined using a multiplex qPCR assay. After adjustment for age, years of education, and smoking status, we found that patients with SCZ had longer TL (relative ratio (RR) = 1.08) than the HC group (RR = 1.00, Wald χ2 = 12.48, p = 0.002). Further, non-remitted SCZ patients presented longer TL (RR = 1.00) compared to remitted SCZ (RR = 0.88, Wald χ2 = 7.20, p = 0.007). TL in patients also correlated to psychopathology assessment in terms of total (p = 0.003) and positive PANSS scores (p = 0.001). No correlation with negative PANSS, YMRS, and CDSS or effects of medication was found on TL. Although the exact pathways underlying longer TL in SCZ patients remain unclear, these findings raise more questions than answers and suggest that TL may be of immense value on SCZ progression. Further studies are required to investigate the association of TL in FEP and SCZ.


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