Objectives: L-Theanine (γ-glutamylethylamide) augmentation to antipsychotic therapy ameliorates positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients. This study examines the association between circulating levels of neurochemical indicators and the beneficial clinical effects of L-theanine augmentation.
Methods: Serum levels of neurochemical indicators such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), its sulfate (DHEAS), cortisol, cholesterol, and insulin were monitored in 40 schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients during an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with L-theanine (400 mg/d). Multiple regression analysis was applied for searching association between improvement in symptom scores and changes in circulating levels of neurochemical indicators for an 8-week trial.
Results: Regression models among L-theanine-treated patients indicate that circulating levels of BDNF and cortisol-to-DHEAS*100 molar ratio were significantly associated with the beneficial clinical effects of L-theanine augmentation. Variability of serum BDNF levels accounted for 26.2% of the total variance in reduction of dysphoric mood and 38.2% in anxiety scores. In addition, the changes in cortisol-to-DHEAS*100 molar ratio accounted for 30% to 34% of the variance in activation factor and dysphoric mood scores and for 15.9% in anxiety scores. Regression models among placebo-treated patients did not reach significant level.
Conclusions: These preliminary results indicate that circulating BDNF and cortisol-to-DHEAS*100 molar ratio may be involved in the beneficial clinical effects of L-theanine as augmentation of antipsychotic therapy in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00372151.