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Clinical and biochemical study of D-serine metabolism among schizophrenia patients

Authors El-Tallawy HN, Saleem TH, El-Ebidi AMA, Hassan MH, Gabra RH, Farghaly WMA, Abo El-Maali N, Sherkawy HS

Received 8 November 2016

Accepted for publication 16 January 2017

Published 10 April 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1057—1063

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S126979

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Hamdy N El-Tallawy,1 Tahia H Saleem,2 Abdallah MAA El-Ebidi,3 Mohammed H Hassan,4 Romany H Gabra,1 Wafaa MA Farghaly,1 Nagwa Abo El-Maali,5 Hoda S Sherkawy3

1Department of Neuropsychiatry, 2Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, 3Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Aswan University, Aswan, 4Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Qena Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena, 5Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt

Background: Schizophrenia is a typical N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDA-R) hypofunction disorder. Decreased d-serine (d-Ser) levels in the periphery occur in schizophrenia and may reflect decreased availability of d-Ser to activate NMDA-R in the brain.
Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate the role of d-Ser metabolism in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia via biochemical assays and correlates, the serum level of d-Ser, d-serine racemase (SR) (responsible for its formation from l-serine [l-Ser]) and d-amino acid oxidase (DAAO) (responsible for its catabolism), among different clinical types of schizophrenia patients.
Patients and methods: This cross-sectional case–control study was carried out on 100 patients and 50 controls. They were recruited from the outpatients’ psychiatric unit of the Neuropsychiatric Department of Assiut University Hospital, Upper Egypt. The type of schizophrenia was determined according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), while the severity of schizophrenia was determined according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Serum d-Ser levels were estimated using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), while serum SR and DAAO were measured using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.
Results: There were significantly lower mean serum levels of d-Ser and SR and significantly higher mean serum levels of DAAO (P-value <0.01 for each) among schizophrenia patients when compared with the control group. Paranoid schizophrenia had the highest frequency, with a significantly lower serum levels of d-Ser and SR in the residual type and significantly higher serum levels of DAAO in undifferentiated and catatonic types. Combined receiver-operating characteristic curve for serum d-Ser, SR and DAAO indicated that the best serum level cutoff points at which schizophrenia manifestations started to appear were ≤61.4 mg/L for d-Ser, ≤15.5 pg/mL for SR and >35.6 pg/mL for DAAO.
Conclusion: The present study confirms that disturbed d-Ser metabolism could be implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.

Keywords: d-serine, serine racemase, d-amino acid oxidase, schizophrenia, HPLC

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