Skip to main content

17-04-2013 | Psychology | Article

NDEL1 enzyme activity reduced in schizophrenia


Free abstract

medwireNews: Results from a Brazilian study show that nuclear distribution protein nudE-like 1 (NDEL1) enzyme activity is reduced in patients with schizophrenia compared with mentally healthy individuals.

Moreover, treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients have lower NDEL1 activity levels than schizophrenia patients who respond to treatment, report Mirian Hayashi (Universidade Federal de São Paulo) and team.

"Our results… suggest that Ndel1 [NDEL1] is a biomarker with potential clinical use in supporting diagnosis [of schizophrenia] and drug-choice, although the latter potential application still needs to be further investigated," they comment in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

NDEL1 plays a significant role in neuronal differentiation and migration, and hydrolyzes neuropeptides previously implicated in schizophrenia, such as neurotensin and bradykinin, the researchers explain.

To investigate NDEL1 enzyme activity in schizophrenia patients, the team collected blood samples from 92 patients, aged 16-68 years, and 96 mentally healthy controls matched for age, gender, and educational level.

The team found that mean plasma NDEL1 enzyme activity was reduced by a significant 31% in schizophrenia patients compared with controls, at 6.7 versus 9.6 nM/minute.

Receiver-operating characteristic analysis showed that NDEL1 enzyme activity had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.70 for differentiating schizophrenia patients from controls.

Among the schizophrenia patients, those who were treatment resistant (n=46), defined according to International Psychopharmacology Algorithm Project criteria, had significantly lower mean plasma NDEL1 enzyme activity than those who were not, at 5.7 versus 7.6 nM/minute.

Logistic regression analysis revealed that reduced enzymatic activity was significantly associated with both treatment-resistant and non-treatment-resistant schizophrenia, at odds ratios of 9.64 and 3.29, respectively.

The researchers found no significant correlation between NDEL1 enzyme activity and antipsychotic dose, number of cigarettes smoked per day, or body mass index.

Hayashi and team conclude: "This study is the first to show differences in Ndel1 [NDEL1] activity in SCZ [schizophrenia] patients compared to HCs [healthy controls]."

They add: "Our findings support the Ndel1 [NDEL1] enzyme activity implications to clinical practice in terms of diagnosis and drug treatment of schizophrenia."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Mark Cowen, Senior medwireNews Reporter

Related topics