Altered brain arginine metabolism in schizophrenia
AuthorLiu, P; Jing, Y; Collie, ND; Dean, B; Bilkey, DK; Zhang, H
Source TitleTranslational Psychiatry
PublisherNATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
University of Melbourne Author/sDean, Brian
AffiliationFlorey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLiu, P., Jing, Y., Collie, N. D., Dean, B., Bilkey, D. K. & Zhang, H. (2016). Altered brain arginine metabolism in schizophrenia. TRANSLATIONAL PSYCHIATRY, 6 (8), https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.144.
Access StatusOpen Access
Previous research implicates altered metabolism of l-arginine, a versatile amino acid with a number of bioactive metabolites, in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The present study, for we believe the first time, systematically compared the metabolic profile of l-arginine in the frontal cortex (Brodmann's area 8) obtained post-mortem from schizophrenic individuals and age- and gender-matched non-psychiatric controls (n=20 per group). The enzyme assays revealed no change in total nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, but significantly increased arginase activity in the schizophrenia group. Western blot showed reduced endothelial NOS protein expression and increased arginase II protein level in the disease group. High-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometric assays confirmed significantly reduced levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), but increased agmatine concentration and glutamate/GABA ratio in the schizophrenia cases. Regression analysis indicated positive correlations between arginase activity and the age of disease onset and between l-ornithine level and the duration of illness. Moreover, cluster analyses revealed that l-arginine and its main metabolites l-citrulline, l-ornithine and agmatine formed distinct groups, which were altered in the schizophrenia group. The present study provides further evidence of altered brain arginine metabolism in schizophrenia, which enhances our understanding of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and may lead to the future development of novel preventions and/or therapeutics for the disease.
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