Mamta Singh, Gora Dadheech, Shikha Mathur and RK Solanki
Background: Sex disparities in schizophrenia especially in negative symptoms may be related to the action of sex steroid hormones.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze relationship of serum testosterone levels with respect to clinical psychopathology laying emphasis on negative symptoms in male patients with schizophrenia.
Material and Methods: The study population consisted of two hundred male schizophrenia patients and fifty- age matched healthy individuals. Sociodemographic data and history of illness were noted in semi-structured proforma. Clinical psychopathology was assessed by Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Drug Induced Extrapyramidal Symptoms Scale (DIEPSS) and Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) were also used to exclude the effects of extrapyramidal symptoms and depression. Serum testosterone level was measured by chemiluminescence method. Data were analyzed by chi square test (x2) and z-test. Pearson’s correlation analysis was used for association of testosterone level with PANSS sub-scale scores.
Results: Mean testosterone level was significantly lower in schizophrenia patients (381.90±158.29; p ˭ 0.001) as compared to healthy subjects (520.51±145.94). A significant inverse association was detected between PANSS negative sub scale scores and testosterone levels (r ˭ -0.211, p ˭ 0.034). There was no correlation with other PANSS sub scale items (i.e., positive symptoms, general psychopathology and total scores), age of onset and disease duration.
Conclusion: The present study indicates that lower level of testosterone may have a role in presentation of negative symptoms in schizophrenia, and the pathophysiological processes of disease affected the testosterone levels. Therefore, clinicians are advised to monitor levels of testosterone in patients with predominant negative symptoms of schizophrenia and enquire about sexual dysfunction and infertility. Lower level of sex steroids is a point of concern as these patients are at high risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular co-morbidities. In near future therapeutic strategies targeting testosterone could be useful in ameliorating the negative symptoms of disease.
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