Elemental fingerprinting of schizophrenia patient blood plasma before and after treatment with antipsychotics

  • Alessandra SussuliniEmail author
  • Helena Munhoz Erbolato
  • Gustavo de Souza Pessôa
  • Marco Aurélio Zezzi Arruda
  • Johann Steiner
  • Daniel Martins-de-SouzaEmail author
Original Paper


Antipsychotics are the main line of treatment for schizophrenia, a disorder that affects about 1% of the worldwide population. Considering the poor performance of antipsychotics on patients, this work aimed at detecting alterations in the elemental profile resulting from the use of this type of medication using an elemental fingerprinting strategy. We evaluated 56 plasma samples from schizophrenia patients by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) before (t0) and after 6 weeks (t6) of treatment. The level of response of the patients (good vs. poor responders) and the medications taken were considered. Zinc, aluminum, phosphorus, and iron levels were found to be increased, whereas sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels decreased after treatment. Aluminum presented a higher level in poor responders at t0 when compared to good responders. At t6, iron showed an increased level when compared to t0 for good responders; however, its level remained constant in poor responders. The results of this exploratory study provide clues for further investigations on the role of metal ions in the treatment of schizophrenia.


Metallomics Blood Plasma Schizophrenia Antipsychotics ICP-MS Elemental Fingerprinting 



The authors thank FAPESP, CNPq and CAPES for the financial support. PIBIC and CAPES are acknowledged for HME and GSP scholarships, respectively. Anke Dudeck, Daniela Fenker, Sieglinde Funke, Bianca Jerzykiewicz, Gabriela Meyer-Lotz, Katrin Paelchen, and Jeanette Schadow participated in the sample characterization and collection at the University of Magdeburg. Also, we thank Brad J. Smith for proofreading the article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare to have no conflicts of interest.


FAPESP (Grant Numbers 2015/13229-1, 2013/08711-3, 2014/10068-4, 2014/50867-3, 2016/07384-7) and CNPq (88881.062204/2014-01, 460289/2014-4, 465389/2014-7).

Supplementary material

406_2017_836_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 32 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Bioanalytics and Integrated Omics (LaBIOmics), Department of Analytical ChemistryInstitute of Chemistry, University of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Spectrometry, Sample Preparation and Mechanization Group (GEPAM), Department of Analytical ChemistryInstitute of Chemistry, University of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  3. 3.National Institute of Science and Technology for Bioanalytics (INCTBio), Institute of ChemistryUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  4. 4.Laboratory of Neuroproteomics, Department of Biochemistry, Institute of BiologyUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  6. 6.UNICAMP’s Neurobiology CenterCampinasBrazil
  7. 7.Instituto Nacional de Biomarcadores em Neuropsiquiatria (INBION)Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e TecnológicoSão PauloBrazil
  8. 8.CRod. Jornalista Francisco Aguirre ProençaHortolândiaBrazil

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