Research Papers:

Correlation of DRD2 mRNA expression levels with deficit syndrome severity in chronic schizophrenia patients receiving clozapine treatment

Liang Liu _, Yin Luo, Guofu Zhang, Chunhui Jin, Zhenhe Zhou, Zaohuo Cheng and Guozhen Yuan

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:86515-86526. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21230

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Liang Liu1, Yin Luo1, Guofu Zhang1, Chunhui Jin1, Zhenhe Zhou1, Zaohuo Cheng1,2 and Guozhen Yuan1,2

1Wuxi Mental Health Center, Nanjing Medical University, Wuxi, China

2Wuxi Tongren International Rehabilitation Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Wuxi, China

Correspondence to:

Liang Liu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: chronic schizophrenia, deficit syndrome, mRNA expression phosphoinositide-3 kinase, dopamine D2 receptor, protein kinase B

Received: April 21, 2017     Accepted: August 26, 2017     Published: September 23, 2017


Schizophrenia is a complex, severe, chronic psychiatric disorder, and the associated deficit syndrome is widely regarded as an important clinical aspect of schizophrenia. This study analyzed the relationship of deficit syndrome severity with the mRNA levels of members of signaling pathways that associate with the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, including the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2), protein kinase B (AKT1), and phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3KCB), in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) of 20 healthy controls and 19 chronic schizophrenia patients with long-term clozapine treatment. The DRD2 expression levels in chronic schizophrenia group were statistically higher than those in controls (t=2.168, p=0.037). Moreover, in chronic schizophrenia group, correlations were observed between the expression levels of DRD2 and PI3KCB (r=0.771, p<0.001), DRD2 and AKT1 (r=0.592, p=0.008), and PI3KCB and AKT1 (r=0.562, p=0.012) and between the DRD2 mRNA levels and the Proxy for the Deficit Syndrome score (r=0.511, p=0.025). In control group, the correlation between PI3KCB expression levels and DRD2 expression levels was only observed (r=0.782, p<0.001). In conclusion, a correlation was observed between increased deficit syndrome severity and elevated expression levels of DRD2 in PBLs of chronic schizophrenia patients receiving long-term clozapine treatment.

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