Based upon the concept of a prodromal risk syndrome for first psychosis, intense efforts are being applied to define potential biomarkers of disease onset in schizophrenia. One such tentative biomarker may be plasmalogens, complex structural glycerophospholipids that serve multiple functions in all cells.
To further investigate this possibility, we undertook a lipidomics analysis of choline and ethanolamine plasmalogens in the plasma and platelets of 23 patients with schizophrenia and 27 age-matched controls.
Plasma levels of both choline and ethanolamine plasmalogens were decreased by 23 to 45% in patients with schizophrenia. In platelets, from patients with schizophrenia, ethanolamine plasmalogens also were decreased while choline plasmalogen levels were increased. Levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were decreased by approximately 30% both in plasma and platelets.
Our results suggest that alterations in lipid transport or lipid remodeling/metabolism of plasmalogens are present in schizophrenia and that changes in the steady-state levels of these complex lipid pools may be involved in altered neuronal function.