A snapshot of plasma metabolites in first-episode schizophrenia: a capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry study

Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Apr 8;4(4):e379. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.19.


Few biomarkers have been known that can easily measure clinical conditions in mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CE-TOFMS) is a new method that can measure ionized and low-molecular-weight metabolites. To explore global metabolomic alterations that characterize the onset of schizophrenia and identify biomarkers, we profiled the relative and absolute concentrations of the plasma metabolites from 30 patients with first-episode schizophrenia (FESZ, four drug-naïve samples), 38 healthy controls and 15 individuals with autism spectrum disorders using CE-TOFMS. Five metabolites had robust changes (increased creatine and decreased betaine, nonanoic acid, benzoic acid and perillic acid) in two independent sample sets. Altered levels of these metabolites are consistent with well-known hypotheses regarding abnormalities of the homocysteine metabolism, creatine kinase-emia and oxidative stress. Although it should be considered that most patients with FESZ received medication, these metabolites are candidate biomarkers to improve the determination of diagnosis, severity and clinical stages, especially for FESZ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / blood
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Plasma / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / blood
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers