Oxidative stress-induced damage to neurons may contribute to cognitive deficits during aging and in neurodegenerative disorders. Schizophrenia has a range of cognitive deficits that may evolve from oxidative stress. Thioredoxin (TRX), a redox-regulating protein with antioxidant activity recognized as an oxidative-stress marker has recently been found to be involved in pathogenesis and psychopathology of schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to examine the association of TRX with cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. We recruited 45 chronic schizophrenic patients and 66 healthy control subjects and examined the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and serum TRX in both groups. Schizophrenic symptoms were assessed using the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS). We found no significant difference in TRX levels between patients and healthy controls. Cognitive scores on the RBANS and four of its five subscales (all p<0.001) except for the Visuospatial/Constructional index (p>0.05) were significantly lower in schizophrenic patients than normal controls. For the patients, TRX was inversely associated with the Attention domain of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia; however, TRX was positively associated with Attention in controls. The significantly lower TRX levels in attention impaired schizophrenia compared to controls suggest that oxidative stress may be involved in the cognitive impairment, especially attention in schizophrenia. The differential association of TRX and cognitive performance in schizophrenia and controls may be related to the impaired oxidative stress status of schizophrenia patients.
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