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A range of studies suggest that a proportion of psychosis may have an autoimmune basis, but this has not translated through into clinical practice-there is no biochemical test able to accurately identify psychosis resulting from an underlying inflammatory cause. Such a test would be an important step towards identifying who might require different treatments and have the potential to improve outcomes for patients. To identify novel subgroups within patients with acute psychosis we measured the serum nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolite profiles of 75 patients who had identified antibodies (anti-glycine receptor [GlyR], voltage-gated potassium channel [VGKC], Contactin-associated protein-like 2 [CASPR2], leucine-rich glioma inactivated 1 [LGI1], N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor [NMDAR] antibody) and 70 antibody negative patients matched for age, gender, and ethnicity. Clinical symptoms were assessed using the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS). Unsupervised principal component analysis identified two distinct biochemical signatures within the cohort. Orthogonal partial least squared discriminatory analysis revealed that the serum metabolomes of NMDAR, LGI1, and CASPR2 antibody psychosis patients were indistinct from the antibody negative control group while VGKC and GlyR antibody patients had significantly decreased lipoprotein fatty acids and increased amino acid concentrations. Furthermore, these patients had more severe presentation with higher PANSS scores than either the antibody negative controls or the NMDAR, LGI1, and CASPR2 antibody groups. These results suggest that a proportion of patients with acute psychosis have a distinct clinical and biochemical phenotype that may indicate an inflammatory subtype.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Psychiatry

Publication Date





4722 - 4730


Humans, Autoantibodies, Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated, Psychotic Disorders, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Biomarkers, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Inflammation