Identification of cerebrospinal fluid and serum metabolomic biomarkers in first episode psychosis patients

Pei Shang, Ada Man Choi Ho, Maximilian Tufvesson-Alm, Daniel R. Lindberg, Caroline W. Grant, Funda Orhan, Feride Eren, Maria Bhat, Göran Engberg, Lilly Schwieler, Helena Fatouros-Bergman, Sophie Imbeault, Ryan M. Iverson, Surendra Dasari, Fredrik Piehl, Simon Cervenka, Carl M. Sellgren, Sophie Erhardt, Doo Sup Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychotic disorders are currently diagnosed by examining the patient’s mental state and medical history. Identifying reliable diagnostic, monitoring, predictive, or prognostic biomarkers would be useful in clinical settings and help to understand the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Here, we performed an untargeted metabolomics analysis using ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectroscopy on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples of 25 patients at their first-episode psychosis (FEP) manifestation (baseline) and after 18 months (follow-up). CSF and serum samples of 21 healthy control (HC) subjects were also analyzed. By comparing FEP and HC groups at baseline, we found eight CSF and 32 serum psychosis-associated metabolites with non-redundant identifications. Most remarkable was the finding of increased CSF serotonin (5-HT) levels. Most metabolites identified at baseline did not differ between groups at 18-month follow-up with significant improvement of positive symptoms and cognitive functions. Comparing FEP patients at baseline and 18-month follow-up, we identified 20 CSF metabolites and 90 serum metabolites that changed at follow-up. We further utilized Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) and identified candidate signaling pathways involved in psychosis pathogenesis and progression. In an extended cohort, we validated that CSF 5-HT levels were higher in FEP patients than in HC at baseline by reversed-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography. To conclude, these findings provide insights into the pathophysiology of psychosis and identify potential psychosis-associated biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number229
JournalTranslational psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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