Recently, we showed that the circulating levels of insulin-related peptides and the secretory granule protein chromogranin A were increased in small cohorts of first onset schizophrenia patients. Assuming that this effect was associated with impaired insulin signalling, we investigated the possibility that secretion of other hormones is also affected in schizophrenia. Multiplex immunoassay analysis of 21 hormones and hormone-related molecules was carried out using sera from 236 first and recent onset schizophrenia patients and 230 matched controls. Serum concentrations of insulin and chromogranin A were increased in schizophrenia subjects, consistent with our previous study. In addition, we found elevated concentrations of pancreatic polypeptide, prolactin, progesterone and cortisol, and decreased levels of growth hormone. We also found that growth hormone levels were decreased in post-mortem pituitaries obtained from chronic schizophrenia patients. It will be important to determine whether any of these molecules are involved in the pathosphysiology of schizophrenia or if they reflect the associated insulin resistance. We conclude that function of multiple components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-gonadal axis may be affected in schizophrenia. This could have important implications for future biomarker discovery efforts and personalized medicine strategies based on patient stratification for the treatment of this debilitating disorder.

Adrenal gland, Growth hormone, Insulin, Multiplex immunoassay, Pituitary, Schizophrenia,
This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/223427 - Developing minimally invasive, tools and technologies for high throughput, low cost molecular assays for the early diagnosis of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders (SCHIZDX)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Guest, P.C, Schwarz, E, Krishnamurthy, D, Harris, L.W, Leweke, F.M, Rothermundt, M, … Bahn, S. (2011). Altered levels of circulating insulin and other neuroendocrine hormones associated with the onset of schizophrenia. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36(7), 1092–1096. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.12.018