Serum Cortisol and Folate Levels in Patients with Schizophrenia: Case Control Study in North of IranAuthor(s): Najmeh Shahini*, Mostafa Zare, Mahsa Omiddezyani and Abdurrahman Charkazi
Introduction: Schizophrenia is a highly devastating condition characterized by frequent recurrences, cognitive decline, and emotional and functional disabilities. This study aimed to evaluate the serum levels of cortisol and folate in patients with schizophrenia and its comparison with healthy individuals.
Materials and methods: This is a case control study was performed on 66 individuals. Participants were divided into two groups schizophrenia (n=33) and control (n=33). The demographic information checklist, Simpson-Angus extrapyramidal Side Effect Scale (SAS), and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) were used to collect demographic data, the severity of schizophrenia symptoms, and extrapyramidal symptoms. Then, blood samples were taken from each patient to measure serum levels of cortisol and folate.
Results: The level of folate in the schizophrenia group was significantly lower than in the healthy group and level of cortisol in the schizophrenia group was significantly higher than in the healthy group (P<0.0001). No significant relationship was observed between both cortisol levels and folate levels and the mean total score of the SAS questionnaire as well as the mean total score of the PANSS questionnaire, positive symptom scores, negative symptoms scores, and general psychopathologic symptoms scores in the schizophrenic group and the control group. The cortisol levels in those with a history of psychiatric illness were significantly lower than in the healthy group (P=0.017). The mean serum folate levels in patients with a history of hypothyroidism were significantly lower than in the healthy group (P=0.020). Folate levels were significantly higher in smokers (P=0.036).
Conclusion: The result showed that the serum folate level was significantly lower in the schizophrenia group and the serum cortisol level was significantly higher in schizophrenic patients. PANSS and SAS scores showed no association with serum cortisol and folate levels.