On 22 May at 10:00 Roman Balõtšev will defend via Teams his doctoral thesis "Interaction between the immune and metabolic systems in different stages of schizophrenia spectrum disorders“ .
Senior Research Fellow Liina Haring (MD, PhD, University of Tartu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Psychiatry)
Professor Eero Vasar (MD, PhD, University of Tartu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Department of Physiology)
Professor Mihkel Zilmer (dr. med., University of Tartu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Department of Biochemistry)
Senior Research Fellow Kati Koido (PhD, University of Tartu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Department of Physiology)
professor Tiina Rekand (MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden).
For more than 100 years, scientists have been trying to understand human mental processes and their abnormalities. Accumulated knowledge has increasingly associated abnormalities in psychic function with disturbances in the interaction of various brain neurotransmitters, which in turn are strongly influenced by the general state of the body's metabolism and immune system.
This thesis focused on investigating shifts in blood serum inflammatory and metabolic marker profiles in patients with psychotic disorders compared to control subjects. In a psychotic episode, a person's ability to adequately perceive the world around them, to analyze their own feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and surroundings is significantly impaired. The first psychotic episode may remain the only episode of the disease, but in most cases, the disease worsens over time, in which case it is a chronic psychotic disorder called schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorder.
The study included 38 patients with first psychotic episode who were enrolled in the study before the start of antipsychotic treatment and who were followed up for a 7-month period. In addition, 105 patients in the chronic phase of the disease participated. The control group included a total of 185 subjects.
The results showed that in the first episode of psychosis, elevated levels of markers reflecting the presence of low-grade inflammation occur in patients' blood serum, which is reversed by 7- months of antipsychotic treatment. However, 7-months of treatment resulted in a significant increase in body weight and an unfavorable shift in the levels of biomarkers measured in serum metabolism. Against the background of chronic psychotic disorder and ongoing antipsychotic treatment, persistent increases in the levels of metabolic and inflammatory markers associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease occur throughout the body.
The results will continue to be useful in clinical work for more evidence-based diagnosis of the disease and for monitoring and preventing the occurrence of side effects of the antipsychotic treatment used.