Mitochondrial complex I and III gene mRNA levels in schizophrenia, and their relationship with clinical features

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Background: The etiology of schizophrenia is not precisely known; however, mitochondrial function and cerebral energy metabolism abnormalities were determined to be possible factors associated with the etiology of schizophrenia. Impaired mitochondrial function negatively affects neuronal plasticity, and can cause cognitive deficits and behavioral abnormalities observed during the clinical course of schizophrenia. The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between the clinical features of schizophrenia, and mitochondrial complex activation, based on measurement of mRNA levels in the NDUFV1, NDUFV2, NDUFS1, and UQCR10 genes involved in the peripheral mitochondrial complex.Methods: The study included 138 schizophrenia patients and 42 healthy controls. The schizophrenia group was divided into a chronic schizophrenia subgroup (n = 84) and a first-episode schizophrenia subgroup (n = 54). The symptoms profile and severity of disorder were evaluated using the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS), and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS).Results: The level of mRNA expression of NDUFV1, NDUFV2, and NDUFS1 was significantly higher in the schizophrenia group than in the control group. The mRNA level of NDUFV2 was positively correlated with BPRS and SAPS scores in the first-episode schizophrenia subgroup.Conclusion: The findings showed that there was a positive correlation between gene mRNA levels and psychotic symptomatology, especially positive symptoms. Our results suggest that mRNA levels of the NDUFV1, NUDFV2, and NDUFS1 genes of complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain might become a possible peripheral marker for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.




Akarsu, S., Torun, D., Bolu, A., Erdem, M., Kozan, S., Ak, M., … Uzun, Ö. (2014). Mitochondrial complex I and III gene mRNA levels in schizophrenia, and their relationship with clinical features. Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, 2(1).

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