Summary of Kopczynska, M. et al; Complement system biomarkers in first episode psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, Dec 2017. Click here for the full article.

There has been debate over the past few years about the criteria currently used to classify patients with psychiatric disorders. The lack of objective and quantitative diagnostic criteria means that we rely on symptom-based categorization when deciding on patient classification and less on the underlying biology. Accumulating evidence suggests that inflammation and the immune system is the cause of such psychiatric disorders. The complement system is one such system, particularly the classical pathway, that potentially could be an important contributor.

Complement is a key driver of inflammation and complement dysregulation causes pathology in many diseases. The goal of this study was to investigate the potential for using complement-related proteins as serum biomarkers with prognostic and/or theranostic value. The concentrations of eleven complement analytes were measured using ELISA in 136 first episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 42 controls. Of the eleven analytes measured only one was significantly different between FEP and control populations, namely TCC.

The findings suggest that measurement of selected complement analytes interrogating the classical pathway could contribute to the early diagnosis of psychosis. A large study, planned prospectively, minimizing sample bias and using appropriately collected and stored EDTA plasma samples, is needed to confirm and extend the findings.