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Friday January 10th, 2014

Psychiatrists and basic scientists describe a dysregulation of the peripheral endocannabinoid system in first psychotic episodes

The journal Neuropsychopharmacology, from the Nature group, recently published an article that describes a dysregulation of the main components of the peripheral endocannabinoid system in patients with a first psychotic episode, comparing them with a large sample of healthy controls. After controlling for age, gender, body mass index, and cannabis use, the patient group showed a significantly reduced expression of the main enzymes of endocannabinoid synthesis and increased expression of those degrading them. The subgroup of patients with a history of cannabis showed a significant lower expression of some markers, compared with the control group. The first author of the study is Dr. Miquel Bioque and the last one is Dr. Miguel Bernardo, both members of the Schizophrenia Unit of the Hospital Clinic and the IDIBAPS team Biological bases of psychiatric disorders and nuclear psychiatry.

The study describes in a well-characterized sample of first psychotic episodes the balance alteration of a system which is necessary as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticytotoxic and neuroprotector. Although more evidence is needed, this research indicates that the determination of certain components of the endocannabinoid system might have an interesting potential as a biological marker of the first psychotic episode. These results also increase the interest on the pharmacological modulation of the endocannabinoid system as a possible therapeutic target in psychotic disorders.

This work is part of the intramural project FLAMMPEPs, funded by CIBERSAM. The sample of patients and controls belong to the PEPs project, funded by the Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III and coordinated by Dr. Miguel Bernardo, director of the Schizophrenia Clinic Unit and team leader of the IDIBAPS team Biological bases of psychiatric disorders and nuclear psychiatry.

Article reference:
Bioque M, García-Bueno B, Macdowell KS, Meseguer A, Saiz PA, Parellada M, Gonzalez-Pinto A, Rodriguez-Jimenez R, Lobo A, Leza JC, Bernardo M; FLAMM-PEPs study – Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental.Peripheral endocannabinoid system dysregulation in first-episode psychosis. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Dec;38(13):2568-77. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.165. Epub 2013 Jul 4.

Abstract of the article

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