DURHAM, N.C. -- Antipsychotic drugs do most of their work in the brain, but they also leave behind in the bloodstream a trail of hundreds of chemicals that may be used in the future to direct better treatment for schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions, say Duke University Medical Center researchers.
The study is among the first to use metabolomics -- the measurement of thousands of chemical byproducts of the body's cellular processes -- to look at a psychiatric disease and its response to therapy, according to the researchers.
"Doctors draw blood every day to look at metabolites such glucose and cholesterol and determine whether someone is at risk of diabetes or heart disease," said lead study investigator Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological psychiatry. "With metabolomics, we can look at thousands of metabolites to attain a more finely tuned map of an individual's overall health and gain information about how an individual is responding to a particular therapy."
In a report presented Friday, May 18, at the Society of Biological Psychiatry annual meeting, in San Diego, Kaddurah-Daouk said that chemical signatures measured by metabolomics were different for schizophrenia patients than for people without the disease. In patients treated with three different antipsychotic medications, the signatures differed according to which drug was used, giving researchers a tool to explore the metabolic side effects of these and other drugs.
The team's findings also appear in the May 2007 issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The work was funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute and NARSAD, both national mental health research associations.
Kaddurah-Daouk thinks this technology could lead to earlier diagnosis of schizophrenia. It may also begin to explain what makes some people more susceptible to schizophrenia, and why some people respond better to treatment than others or develo
Contact: Marla Vacek Broadfoot
Duke University Medical Center