Identification of a biological signature for schizophrenia in serum

E. Schwarz, P. C. Guest, H. Rahmoune, L. W. Harris, L. Wang, F. M. Leweke, M. Rothermundt, B. Bogerts, D. Koethe, L. Kranaster, P. Ohrmann, T. Suslow, G. McAllister, M. Spain, A. Barnes, N. J.M. Van Beveren, S. Baron-Cohen, J. Steiner, F. E. Torrey, R. H. YolkenS. Bahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Biomarkers are now used in many areas of medicine but are still lacking for psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia (SCZ). We have used a multiplex molecular profiling approach to measure serum concentrations of 181 proteins and small molecules in 250 first and recent onset SCZ, 35 major depressive disorder (MDD), 32 euthymic bipolar disorder (BPD), 45 Asperger syndrome and 280 control subjects. Preliminary analysis resulted in identification of a signature comprised of 34 analytes in a cohort of closely matched SCZ (n = 71) and control (n = 59) subjects. Partial least squares discriminant analysis using this signature gave a separation of 60-75% of SCZ subjects from controls across five independent cohorts. The same analysis also gave a separation of ∼50% of MDD patients and 10-20% of BPD and Asperger syndrome subjects from controls. These results demonstrate for the first time that a biological signature for SCZ can be identified in blood serum. This study lays the groundwork for development of a diagnostic test that can be used as an aid for distinguishing SCZ subjects from healthy controls and from those affected by related psychiatric illnesses with overlapping symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • biomarkers
  • bipolar disorder
  • diagnosis
  • major depressive disorder
  • multipleximmunoassay
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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