SKINREMS-A New Method for Assessment of the Niacin Skin Flush Test Response in Schizophrenia

J Clin Med. 2020 Jun 13;9(6):1848. doi: 10.3390/jcm9061848.


Schizophrenia has been considered a disorder linked with faulty lipid homeostasis, and the proposed tool for assessment of these disruptions is the niacin skin flush test. The aims of the study were: 1. Create a new tool to analyze results of the niacin skin flush test more precisely and objectively. 2. Verify the utility of a self-created tool for differentiating between schizophrenia (SZ; n = 56), bipolar disorder (BD; n = 29) and healthy control (HC; n = 45) individuals. The proposed developed method, based on the Skin Reaction Measurement Computer System (SKINREMS), allows one to evaluate the response to the niacin skin flush test quickly and objectively. SKINREMS showed good accuracy in discriminating SZ from BD (with sensitivity 91% and specificity 72%), and SZ from HC (71% and 66%, respectively), and sufficient but not excellent accuracy in discriminating BD from HC (55% and 54%, respectively). The pathophysiological pathways and features shared by schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may be the reason for difficulties in fully discriminating between these two mental disorders using the niacin challenge test. The management of disruptions in the phospholipid metabolism and the inflammatory process could potentially become an individualized form of therapy in a subgroup of psychiatric patients.

Keywords: biomarker; bipolar disorder; essential fatty acids; niacin; schizophrenia.