Aims – Firstly, to establish whether the amounts of superoxide radicals and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by blood platelets are the same in individuals with schizophrenic disorders and in healthy volunteers, and secondly, to assess the amount of superoxide radicals and other reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced in platelets stimulated with a strong agonist, such as thrombin.
Subjects – Participants in the study were 42 patients (24 men and 18 women) aged 18-36, hospitalized for schizophrenic disorders of paranoid type (according to DSM-IV criteria), and 31 healthy volunteers (students and staff members of the Medical University in Łódź) matched for age and gen der.
Method – Superoxide radical generation was measured using the method described by Jahn and Hansch, while production of other reactive oxygen species (i.e. H2O2, singlet oxygen, hydroxyl free radicals, organic free radicals) – by means of chemiluminenscence.
Results – A significant increase in ROS generation was found in patients with schizophrenic disorders. Moreover, they differed from the healthy controls both in their superoxide radical generation and in the blood platelet response to thrombin stimulation.
Discussion – The results suggest oxidative stress in blood platelets of individuals with schizophrenic disorders. The findings correspond to these reported by other authors indicating the presence of various oxyreductive disorders in persons with schizophrenia. Blood platelet reactivity to thrombin stimulation noted in in vitro studies in persons treated for schizophrenic disorders differs from that in healthy people. The meaning of this finding requires further research.
Conclusions – Oxidative stress and altered reactivity of blood platelets may have a pathophysiological role in schizophrenia.