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Metabolic syndrome and impaired insulin sensitivity may occur as side effects of atypical antipsychotic drugs. However, studies of peripheral insulin resistance using the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) or oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) suggest that abnormal glucose metabolism is already present in drug-naive first-episode schizophrenia (DNFES). We hypothesized impairments of neuronal insulin signaling in DNFES.
To gain insight into neuronal insulin-signaling in vivo, we analyzed peripheral blood extracellular vesicles enriched for neuronal origin (nEVs). Phosphorylated insulin signal transduction serine-threonine kinases pS312-IRS-1, pY-IRS-1, pS473-AKT, pS9-GSK3β, pS2448-mTOR, pT389-p70S6K and respective total protein levels were determined in plasma nEVs from 48 DNFES patients and healthy matched controls after overnight fasting.
Upstream pS312-IRS-1 was reduced at trend level (p = 0.071; this condition may amplify IRS-1 signaling). Exploratory omnibus analysis of downstream serine-threonine kinases (AKT, GSK3β, mTOR, p70S6K) revealed lower phosphorylated/total protein ratios in DNFES vs. controls (p = 0.013), confirming decreased pathway activation. Post-hoc-tests indicated in particular a reduced phosphorylation ratio of mTOR (p = 0.027). Phosphorylation ratios of p70S6K (p = 0.029), GSK3β (p = 0.039), and at trend level AKT (p = 0.061), showed diagnosis-dependent statistical interactions with insulin blood levels. The phosphorylation ratio of AKT correlated inversely with PANSS-G and PANSS-total scores, and other ratios showed similar trends.
These findings support the hypothesis of neuronal insulin resistance in DNFES, small sample sizes notwithstanding. The counterintuitive trend towards reduced pS312-IRS-1 in DNFES may result from adaptive feedback mechanisms. The observed changes in insulin signaling could be clinically meaningful as suggested by their association with higher PANSS scores.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.