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Childhood trauma and being at-risk for psychosis are associated with higher peripheral endocannabinoids

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2019

E. Appiah-Kusi
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK
R. Wilson
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK
M. Colizzi
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, Section of Psychiatry, University of Verona, Policlinico ‘G. B. Rossi’, P.le L.A. Scuro 10, 37134, Verona, Italy
E. Foglia
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK
E. Klamerus
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK
A. Caldwell
Affiliation:
King's College London, Mass Spectometry Facility, Franklin Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9NH, UK
M. G. Bossong
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht Brain Center, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
P. McGuire
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK
S. Bhattacharyya
Affiliation:
Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Box PO 63, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, LondonSE5 8AF, UK
Corresponding

Abstract

Background

Evidence has been accumulating regarding alterations in components of the endocannabinoid system in patients with psychosis. Of all the putative risk factors associated with psychosis, being at clinical high-risk for psychosis (CHR) has the strongest association with the onset of psychosis, and exposure to childhood trauma has been linked to an increased risk of development of psychotic disorder. We aimed to investigate whether being at-risk for psychosis and exposure to childhood trauma were associated with altered endocannabinoid levels.

Method

We compared 33 CHR participants with 58 healthy controls (HC) and collected information about previous exposure to childhood trauma as well as plasma samples to analyse endocannabinoid levels.

Results

Individuals with both CHR and experience of childhood trauma had higher N-palmitoylethanolamine (p < 0.001) and anandamide (p < 0.001) levels in peripheral blood compared to HC and those with no childhood trauma. There was also a significant correlation between N-palmitoylethanolamine levels and symptoms as well as childhood trauma.

Conclusions

Our results suggest an association between CHR and/or childhood maltreatment and elevated endocannabinoid levels in peripheral blood, with a greater alteration in those with both CHR status and history of childhood maltreatment compared to those with either of those risks alone. Furthermore, endocannabinoid levels increased linearly with the number of risk factors and elevated endocannabinoid levels correlated with the severity of CHR symptoms and extent of childhood maltreatment. Further studies in larger cohorts, employing longitudinal designs are needed to confirm these findings and delineate the precise role of endocannabinoid alterations in the pathophysiology of psychosis.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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