[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia (SZ) is a brain disorder that has been intensively studied for over a century; yet, its etiology and multifactorial pathophysiology remain a puzzle. However, significant advances have been made in identifying numerous abnormalities in key biochemical systems. One among these is the antioxidant defense system (AODS) and redox signaling. This review summarizes the findings to date in human studies. The evidence can be broadly clustered into three major themes: perturbations in AODS, relationships between AODS alterations and other systems (i.e., membrane structure, immune function, and neurotransmission), and clinical implications. These domains of AODS have been examined in samples from both the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. Findings in patients with SZ include decreased nonenzymatic antioxidants, increased lipid peroxides and nitric oxides, and homeostatic imbalance of purine catabolism. Reductions of plasma antioxidant capacity are seen in patients with chronic illness as well as early in the course of SZ. Notably, these data indicate that many AODS alterations are independent of treatment effects. Moreover, there is burgeoning evidence indicating a link among oxidative stress, membrane defects, immune dysfunction, and multineurotransmitter pathologies in SZ. Finally, the body of evidence reviewed herein provides a theoretical rationale for the development of novel treatment approaches.
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