RATIONALE: The effect of long-term treatment with the atypical antipsychotic clozapine on the serum amino acid profile in schizophrenia patients has not previously been studied.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to compare serum amino acid patterns in patients on long-term clozapine treatment with long-term conventional antipsychotic treatment, and their relationships to insulin resistance and antipsychotic serum concentrations.
METHODS: Thirty-three patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder on long-term treatment (mean 8.3 years) with clozapine (n=20) or conventional antipsychotics (n=13) were studied. Amino acids were quantified in fasting serum samples by ion exchange chromatography and markers of insulin resistance and antipsychotic drug concentrations were determined by standard methods.
RESULTS: Several amino acids, most notably tyrosine and glutamic acid, were elevated above the reference range in several patients receiving clozapine. Additionally, significantly higher mean values of tyrosine (1.5-fold, p=0.001), glutamic acid (2-fold, p=0.0005) and six other amino acids were observed in the clozapine group than in the conventional antipsychotic group. Several amino acids were related to insulin resistance in both treatment groups.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we show that serum tyrosine and glutamic acid concentrations are markedly elevated in patients on long-term clozapine treatment, compared to patients on long-term conventional antipsychotic treatment. These findings are of importance since these two amino acids have been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.