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Cognitive performance and peripheral endocannabinoid systemreceptor expression in schizophrenia

By Rodrigo Ferretjans, Salvina Maria de Campos, Rafael Ribeiro Santos, Fernanda Carneiro Guimarães, Keliane de Oliveira, Ana Cecília Alves Cardoso, Marcio Sobreira Araújo, Andrea Teixeira Carvalho, Olindo Assis Martins Filho, Antonio Lucio Teixeira Junior and João Vinicius Salgado


Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric syndrome characterized by generalized cognitive deficits that are associated with functional impairment. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) modulates neurotransmission and neuronal plasticity and is important for cognitive functioning. Evidence points to the involvement of this neuromodulatory system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and that alteration of the ECS on peripheral lymphocytes could reflect central changes. The objective of this study was to compare levels of peripheral endocannabinoid receptor expression in patientswith schizophrenia and healthy subjects and find evidence of association between peripheral expression of those receptors and cognitive performance. Patients with stabilized schizophrenia (N = 53) and controls (N=22) underwent clinical and cognitive evaluation, and assessment of cannabinoid receptor expression on the surface of peripheral immune cells (lymphocytes, natural killer cells and monocytes) by flow cytometry. Patients with schizophrenia had lower levels of cannabinoid receptor expression on total T lymphocytes, but after controlling for possible confounders this difference did not remain significant. In patients, increased cannabinoid receptor expression on lymphocytes andmonocyteswas significantly correlated with worst cognitive performance. These data provide additional evidence of the involvement of the ECS in the pathophysiology of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia

Topics: Schizophrenia, Cognitive deficits, Endocannabinoid system, Cannabinoid receptors, Immune system, Pathophysiology
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publisher B. V.
Year: 2014
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