Despite decades of research, the pathophysiology and aetiology of schizophrenia remains incompletely understood. The disorder is frequently accompanied by metabolic symptoms including dyslipidaemia, hyperinsulinaemia, type 2 diabetes and obesity. These symptoms are a common side effect of currently available antipsychotic medications. However, reports of metabolic dysfunction in schizophrenia predate the antipsychotic era and have also been observed in first onset patients prior to antipsychotic treatment. Here, we review the evidence for abnormalities in metabolism in schizophrenia patients, both in the central nervous system and periphery. Molecular analysis of post mortem brain tissue has pointed towards alterations in glucose metabolism and insulin signalling pathways, and blood-based molecular profiling analyses have demonstrated hyperinsulinaemia and abnormalities in secretion of insulin and co-released factors at first presentation of symptoms. Nonetheless, such features are not observed for all subjects with the disorder and not all individuals with such abnormalities suffer the symptoms of schizophrenia. One interpretation of these data is the presence of an underlying metabolic vulnerability in a subset of individuals which interacts with environmental or genetic factors to produce the overt symptoms of the disorder. Further investigation of metabolic aspects of schizophrenia may prove critical for diagnosis, improvement of existing treatment based on patient stratification/personalised medicine strategies and development of novel antipsychotic agents.

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Keywords Blood, Brain, Chromogranin, Diabetes, Glucose, Hormone, Insulin, Metabolism, Schizophrenia, VGF
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Journal Psychoneuroendocrinology
Harris, L.W, Guest, P.C, Wayland, M.T, Umrania, Y, Krishnamurthy, D, Rahmoune, H, & Bahn, S. (2013). Schizophrenia: Metabolic aspects of aetiology, diagnosis and future treatment strategies. Psychoneuroendocrinology (Vol. 38, pp. 752–766). doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.09.009