Food and Behaviour Research

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Plasma homocysteine in schizophrenia: determinants and clinical correlations in Tunisian patients free from antipsychotics

Bouaziz N, Ayedi I, Sidhom O, Kallel A, Rafrafi R, Jomaa R, Melki W, Feki M, Kaabechi N, El Hechmi Z. (2010) Psychiatry Res. 179(1) 24-9. Epub 2010 May 14. 

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The existence of association between hyperhomocysteinaemia (HHC) and schizophrenia has been suggested by several recent studies. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of HHC and its main determinants, and sought a correlation with clinical features in Tunisian patients with schizophrenia.

Plasma homocysteine (Hcy), folate, and vitamin B12, as well as the C677T methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) polymorphism, were studied in 33 patients with schizophrenia, all free from antipsychotic treatment, and 35 age- and smoking-habit-matched healthy subjects as controls. Biochemical determinations and psychometric evaluations were carried out in patients before the administration of antipsychotics.

The prevalence of HHC was higher and plasma B12 vitamin was significantly lower in patients. There was no significant difference in genotypic distribution and allelic frequency of the C677T MTHFR polymorphism between groups. Hcy was significantly correlated to the 'anhedonia-asociality' subscales of the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS).

This study showed an association between HHC and schizophrenia, especially with the negative symptoms of the disease. In the Tunisian population, HHC in schizophrenia seems to be linked to vitamin B12 deficiency, likely caused by a lack of dietary animal proteins