Networks of blood proteins in the neuroimmunology of schizophrenia

Clark D. Jeffries, Diana O. Perkins, Margot Fournier, Kim Q. Do, Michel Cuenod, Ines Khadimallah, Enrico Domenici, Jean Addington, Carrie E. Bearden, Kristin S. Cadenhead, Tyrone D. Cannon, Barbara A. Cornblatt, Daniel H. Mathalon, Thomas H. McGlashan, Larry J. Seidman, Ming Tsuang, Elaine F. Walker, and Scott W. Woods

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Schizophrenia patients often present with changes in circulating immune proteins, which can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and directly affect brain function. Many studies have hypothesized that psychosis is related to a dysregulation in the peripheral immune system that leads to abnormal signaling in the BBB. Patients defined as high-risk are 100 times more likely to develop a psychotic disorder within 2 years of diagnosis, and being able to predict progression to psychosis can be a useful tool for early intervention and improve clinical outcomes.

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Myriad RBM’s DiscoveryMAP® Identifies a Protein Biomarker Panel for Bipolar Disorder

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic used Myriad RBM’s Multi-Analyte Profile (MAP) platform to analyze 320 serum proteins in healthy control subjects and subjects with mood disorders. A panel of 6 biomarkers was determined to reliably differentiate between the healthy controls and mood disorder cohorts. While additional studies are still needed, this initial data holds great promise for improved diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders.

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Blood-based proteins are crucial to the development of biomarker tests aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders

A recent review of studies measuring proteins in blood serum/plasma illustrates the systemic nature of disease-related changes in patients with schizophrenia, major depressive and bipolar disorders. The collection of studies examined, including many that utilized Myriad RBM’s services, underscores the importance of including analysis of these peripheral proteins in the development of validated biomarker tests to advance treatment and diagnosis of psychiatric disorders. The review provides a concise evaluation of related research studies within the context of current clinical needs in the field of psychiatry.

Vitamin D Binding Protein in serum demonstrates utility as a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio used a Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) approach to evaluate the correlation between serum Vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) levels and cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s patients. While further studies are needed, this research suggests that increased levels of serum VDBP may be helpful in identifying future dementia and dementia conversion.

Blood-based proteins help elucidate mediators of cognitive impairment in Late Life Depression (LLD)

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh analyzed 242 proteins in conjunction with structural brain abnormalities to identify biological mechanisms that contribute to cognitive impairment in patients with LLD. A panel of proteins, consisting primarily of proteins involved in immune response, cell signaling and inflammation, were determined to help differentiate LLD patients with mild cognitive impairment from those with no cognitive impairment. The results are a promising start to figuring out what other factors are involved in the development of cognitive impairment and progression to dementia.

Inflammatory Proteins Hold Promise as Early Predictors of Psychosis

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University published data suggesting that a panel of inflammatory proteins measured in blood may be useful in identifying changes that are characteristic of psychotic conditions. While more research is needed, these markers, including α2M, fibrinogen, IL-6R, SCF, TGFα, TNFR2, IL-8 and MCP-2/CCL8, have potential utility as early predictors of psychosis and raise questions about the role of infection in the pathology of schizophrenia.

Biomarkers of Concussion May Speed Diagnosis

Traumatic brain injuries and concussions are rather common in contact sports, resulting in a variety of symptoms including dizziness, headaches, nausea, and sometimes loss of consciousness. The long-term effects of concussions are still being studied but researchers believe that cumulative blunt force trauma over a career may result in serious neurological conditions later in life. Objective biomarkers of concussion would allow doctors to detect minor brain injuries and treat athletes appropriately. New research published in JAMA Neurology has identified several proteins in the blood of professional hockey players that indicates damage to brain tissue.

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