Differential expression of haptoglobin in individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis and its association with global functioning and clinical symptoms

Colm Healy*, Jonah Byrne, Subash Raj Suasi, Melanie Föcking, David Mongan, Eleftheria Kodosaki, Meike Heurich, Gerard Cagney, Kieran Wynne, Carrie E. Bearden, Scott W. Woods, Barbara Cornblatt, Daniel Mathalon, William Stone, Tyrone D. Cannon, Jean Addington, Kristin S. Cadenhead, Diana Perkins, Clark Jeffries, David Cotter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Immune dysregulation has been observed in patients with schizophrenia or first-episode psychosis, but few have examined dysregulation in those at clinical high-risk (CHR) for psychosis. The aim of this study was to examine whether the peripheral blood-based proteome was dysregulated in those with CHR. Secondly, we examined whether baseline dysregulation was related to current and future functioning and clinical symptoms.

We used data from participants of the North American Prodromal Longitudinal Studies (NAPLS) 2 and 3 (n = 715) who provided blood samples (Unaffected Comparison subjects (UC) n = 223 and CHR n = 483). Baseline proteomic data was quantified from plasma samples using mass spectrometry. Differential expression was examined between CHR and UC using logistic regression. Psychosocial functioning was measured using the Global Assessment of Functioning scale (GAF). Symptoms were measured using the subscale scores from the Scale of Psychosis-risk Symptoms; positive, negative, general, and disorganised. Three measures of each outcome were included: baseline, longest available follow-up (last follow-up) and most severe follow-up (MSF). Associations between the proteomic data, GAF and symptoms were assessed using ordinal regression.

Of the 99 proteins quantified, six were differentially expressed between UC and CHR. However, only haptoglobin (HP) survived FDR-correction (OR:1.45, 95 %CI:1.23–1.69, padj = <0.001). HP was cross-sectionally and longitudinally associated with functioning and symptoms such that higher HP values were associated with poorer functioning and more severe symptoms. Results were evident after stringent adjustment and poorer functioning was observed in both NAPLS cohort separately.

We demonstrate that elevated HP is robustly observed in those at CHR for psychosis, irrespective of transition to psychosis. HP is longitudinally associated with poorer functioning and greater symptom severity. These results agree with previous reports of increased HP gene expression in individuals at-risk for psychosis and with the dysfunction of the acute phase inflammatory response seen in psychotic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-180
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Early online date18 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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