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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), B-catenin, and cortisol levels correlated with the severity of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) score in patients with Schizophrenia spectrum disorders

Gaglia, Rebecca Jean
Psychosis, as seen in Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorder, is the most debilitating of psychiatric dysfunctions, affecting more than 21 million people per year globally.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and psychosis have significant correlation. We used the ACE Questionnaire (ACEQ) in this study to evaluate childhood trauma. There are, however, many instruments used to assess ACEs. Instruments vary and are used at the discretion of the study facilitator in order to meet the perceived needs of the study. We assessed the prevalence of the instruments used to assess childhood trauma in individuals with psychosis via a systematic review.
BDNF and B-catenin are critical in early and continued neuronal development and proliferation, particularly in the hippocampus (Hpc). Cortisol, well-known for being the major stress hormone, and is known to damage to Hpc neurons in chronic stress. In this study serum BDNF, B-catenin and cortisol will be measured in patients with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia (Sz) or Schizoaffective disorder (SzA) and evaluated for correlation with their respective ACEs scores.
We had a sample size of 11 patients (4 Female, 7 Male) with diagnosis of either Sz or SzA (Sz=2M, SzA=4F, 5M). All were administered a Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 - Clinician's Version (SCID-5-CV) to confirm diagnoses, the ACEQ, and a blood draw to evaluate serum for biomarkers.
We found a significant negative correlation (p=0.027) between cortisol levels and higher ACEQ scores in our sample population. B-catenin and BDNF demonstrated downward linear trends relative to higher ACEQ scores, which with increased power could show significant correlation.
170 studies met criteria for the systematic review, 24 instruments were isolated from those studies. Of those 100, (58.9%), of the studies isolated utilized the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) to assess adverse childhood experiences in patients with psychosis.