Anti-PDHA1 Antibody Is Detected in a Subset of Patients With Schizophrenia

Sci Rep. 2020 May 13;10(1):7906. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63776-0.


Autoantibodies have been implicated in schizophrenia aetiology. Here, novel autoantibodies were isolated from patients with schizophrenia. Autoantibody candidates were searched using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and western blotting with rat brain proteins as antigens and two sera pools (25 schizophrenia patients versus 25 controls) as antibodies. Immunoreactive antigens were identified by mass spectrometry. Antibody prevalence were evaluated by western blotting using human recombinant proteins. Furthermore, brain magnetic resonance imaging data (regional brain volumes and diffusion tensor imaging measures) were compared. Two proteins of the mitochondrial respiration pathway were identified as candidate antigens. Three patients with schizophrenia, but no controls, expressed antibodies targeting one of the candidate antigens, i.e., pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 component subunit alpha, somatic form, mitochondrial (PDHA1, EC, which is related to mitochondrial energy production. Anti-PDHA1 antibody-positive patients (n = 3) had increased volumes in the left occipital fusiform gyrus compared to both controls (n = 23, p = 0.017) and antibody-negative patients (n = 16, p = 0.009), as well as in the left cuneus compared to antibody-negative patients (n = 16, p = 0.018). This is the first report of an anti-PDHA1 antibody in patients with schizophrenia. Compatible with recent findings of mitochondrial dysfunction in schizophrenia, this antibody may be involved in the pathogenesis of a specific subgroup of schizophrenia.