Growing evidence implicates an association between psychosocial stress and oxidative stress (OxSt) although there are not yet reliable biomarkers to study this association. We used a Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and compared the response of a healthy control group (HC; N=10) against the response of a schizophrenia group (SCZ; N=10) that is expected to have higher levels of OxSt. Because our previous study showed inconsistent changes in conventional molecular markers for stress responses in the neuroendocrine and immune systems, we analyzed the same serum samples using a separate reducing capacity assay that provides a more global measurement of OxSt. This assay uses the moderately strong oxidizing agent iridium (Ir) to probe a sample's reducing capacity. Specifically, we characterized OxSt by this Ir-reducing capacity assay (Ir-RCA) using two measurement modalities (optical and electrochemical) and we tuned this assay by imposing an input voltage sequence that generates multiple output metrics for data-driven analysis. We defined five OxSt metrics (one optical and four electrochemical metrics) and showed: (i) internal consistency among each metric in the measurements of all 40 samples (baseline and post TSST for N=20); (ii) all five metrics were consistent with expectations of higher levels of OxSt for the SCZ group (three individual metrics showed statistically significant differences); and (iii) all five metrics showed higher levels of OxSt Post-TSST (one metric showed statistically significant difference). Using multivariant analysis, we showed that combinations of OxSt metrics could discern statistically significant increases in OxSt for both the SCZ and HC groups 90 min after the imposed acute psychosocial stress.
Keywords: Electrochemistry; Oxidative stress; Psychosocial stress; Receiver operating characteristic (ROC); Schizophrenia; Trier social stress test (TSST).
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