Plasma GDF15 level is elevated in psychosis and inversely correlated with severity

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 11;7(1):7906. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07503-2.


Accumulating evidence suggests that GDF15 is a biomarker for ageing and morbidity of many somatic disorders such as cancer and inflammatory disorders. Recently, elevated serum GDF15 level was proposed as a marker for mood disorder. However, psychosis severity was not investigated in relation to plasma GDF15 levels. In the present study we measured GDF15 levels in plasma of 120 psychosis patients compared to 120 age and gender matched healthy controls. Within the patient cohort GDF15 levels were evaluated for association with age, gender, lifestyle factors, C-reactive protein levels, psychosis severity and metabolic disorder. Psychosis patients had elevated GDF15 levels compared to controls (medianPsychosis = 744 ng/mL, mediancontrols = 516 ng/mL, p < 0.001). Within the psychosis cohort, GDF15 levels, when corrected for age, metabolic health and lifestyle factors, were negatively correlated with psychosis severity (β = -0.218, p = 0.012). While GDF15 levels were elevated in patients versus healthy controls, the negative correlation between psychosis severity and GDF15 suggests a loss of anti-inflammatory GDF15 mediated functionality in severe psychosis. Study replication in larger cohorts will be necessary to assess the potential of GDF15 as a prognostic biomarker in psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Correlation of Data
  • Female
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15 / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Psychotic Disorders / pathology*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Biomarkers
  • GDF15 protein, human
  • Growth Differentiation Factor 15