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People with severe mental illnesses (SMI) have a mortality rate two times higher compared to the general population, with a decade of years of life lost. In this randomized controlled trial (RCT), we assessed in a sample of people with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia spectrum disorder, the efficacy of an innovative psychosocial group intervention compared to a brief psychoeducational group intervention on patients’ body mass index (BMI), body weight, waist circumference, Framingham and HOMA-IR indexes.
This is a multicentric RCT with blinded outcome assessments carried out in six Italian university centers. After recruitment patients were randomized to receive a 6-month psychosocial intervention to improve patients’ physical health or a brief psychoeducational intervention. All recruited patients were assessed with standardized assessment instruments at baseline and after 6 months. Anthropometric parameters and blood samples have also been collected.
Four-hundred and two patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder (43.3%), schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder (29.9%), or major depression (26.9%) were randomly allocated to the experimental (N = 206) or the control group (N = 195). After 6 months, patients from the experimental group reported a significant reduction in BMI (odds ratio [OR]: 1.93, 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.31–2.84; p < 0.001), body weight (OR = 4.78, 95% CI: 0.80–28.27, p < 0.05), and waist circumference (OR = 5.43, 95% CI: 1.45–20.30, p < 0.05). Participants with impaired cognitive and psychosocial functioning had a worse response to the intervention.
The experimental group intervention was effective in improving the physical health in SMI patients. Further studies are needed to evaluate the feasibility of this intervention in real-world settings.
Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWASs) have identified several genes associated with Schizophrenia (SCZ) and exponentially increased knowledge on the genetic basis of the disease. In addition, products of GWAS genes interact with neuronal factors coded by genes lacking association, such that this interaction may confer risk for specific phenotypes of this brain disorder. In this regard, fragile X mental retardation syndrome-related 1 (FXR1) gene has been GWAS associated with SCZ. FXR1 protein is regulated by glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β), which has been implicated in pathophysiology of SCZ and response to antipsychotics (APs). rs496250 and rs12630592, two eQTLs (Expression Quantitative Trait Loci) of FXR1 and GSK3β, respectively, interact on emotion stability and amygdala/prefrontal cortex activity during emotion processing. These two phenotypes are associated with Negative Symptoms (NSs) of SCZ suggesting that the interaction between these SNPs may also affect NS severity and responsiveness to medication.
To test this hypothesis, in two independent samples of patients with SCZ, we investigated rs496250 by rs12630592 interaction on NS severity and response to APs. We also tested a putative link between APs administration and FXR1 expression, as already reported for GSK3β expression.
We found that rs496250 and rs12630592 interact on NS severity. We also found evidence suggesting interaction of these polymorphisms also on response to APs. This interaction was not present when looking at positive and general psychopathology scores. Furthermore, chronic olanzapine administration led to a reduction of FXR1 expression in mouse frontal cortex.
Our findings suggest that, like GSK3β, FXR1 is affected by APs while shedding new light on the role of the FXR1/GSK3β pathway for NSs of SCZ.
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