Profiling of lipidomics before and after antipsychotic treatment in first-episode psychosis

  • Liisa LeppikEmail author
  • Madis Parksepp
  • Sven Janno
  • Kati Koido
  • Liina Haring
  • Eero Vasar
  • Mihkel Zilmer
Original Paper


Alterations in complex lipids may be involved in pathophysiology of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Previously, we demonstrated importance of detecting lipid metabolism dysregulation by acylcarnitine (ACs) profile analysis in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP). The aim of this study was to adopt lipidomics to identify serum glycerophospholipids (GPLs) and sphingomyelins (SMs) for describing FEP status before and after 7-month antipsychotic treatment. Using mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography technique, we profiled 105 individual lipids [14 lysophosphatidylcholines (LysoPCs), 76 phosphatidylcholines (PCs) and 15 SMs] in serum samples from 53 antipsychotic-naïve FEP patients, 44 of them were studied longitudinally and from 37 control subjects (CSs). Among the identified and quantified metabolites one LysoPC was elevated, and contrary the levels of 16 PCs as well as the level of one SM were significantly (p ≤ 0.0005) reduced in antipsychotic-naïve FEP patients compared to CSs. Comparison of serum lipids profiles of FEP patients before and after 7-month antipsychotic treatment revealed that 11 GPLs (2 LysoPCs, 9 PCs), and 2 SMs were found to be significantly changed (p ≤ 0.0005) in which GPLs were up-regulated, and SMs were down-regulated. However, no significant differences were noted when treated patient’s serum lipid profiles were compared with CSs. Our findings suggest that complex lipid profile abnormalities are specifically associated with FEP and these discrepancies reflect two different disease-related pathways. Our findings provide insight into lipidomic information that may be used for monitoring FEP status and impact of the treatment in the early stage of the schizophrenia spectrum disorder.


First-episode psychosis Lipidomics Glycerophospholipids Lysophosphatidylcholines Phosphatidylcholines Sphingomyelins 



This research was supported by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (Project no. 2014-2020.4.01.15-0012), and grants from the Estonian Research Foundation (IUT 20-41, IUT 20-42). The funding sources do not have any role in the writing of the manuscript or the decision to submit it for the publication.

Author contributions

LH, EV and MZ designed the study. LH, LL, MP and SJ contributed to data collection and carried out the literature search. MZ and KK were responsible for metabolomics measurements. LH, EV and MZ co-wrote the first draft of the report. LL, MP, SJ, KK, LH, EV, MZ critically revised the manuscript. EV and MZ obtained the research funding. All authors reviewed the manuscript for important intellectual content and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical statement

The protocol of this study was approved by the Ethics Review Committee on Human Research of the University of Tartu (Estonia). All subjects gave written informed consent in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Supplementary material

406_2018_971_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 62 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatry Clinic of Tartu University HospitalTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine, Centre of Excellence for Genomics and Translational MedicineUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  3. 3.Psychiatry Clinic of Viljandi HospitalViljandiEstonia

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