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Activities of Types A and B MAO and Catechol-O-methyltransferase in Blood Cells and Skin Fibroblasts of Normal and Chronic Schizophrenic Subjects

Regina Groshong, PhD; Ross J. Baldessarini, MD; D. Ann Gibson, PhD; Joseph F. Lipinski, MD; Doris Axelrod, MSW; Alfred Pope, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(10):1198-1205. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770340048004.
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• We assayed activities of monoamine oxidase (MAO) type B in blood platelets and type A (and B) in fibroblasts cultured from punch biopsy specimens of skin, as well as of catechol-Omethyltransferase (COMT) in erythrocytes and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts contained moderate amounts of both forms of MAO (types A and B) found in human brain and large amounts of COMT activity. Activities of both enzymes correlated poorly between fibroblasts and blood cells. Comparing carefully diagnosed chronic schizophrenics with age-matched normal young men, we found no difference in these biochemical variables, nor could we distinguish patients with paranoid symptoms. In contrast, we confirmed markedly lower MAO activities in platelet samples from chronic patients provided by colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health. Results concerning MAO and COMT activities are now sufficiently inconsistently characteristic of schizophrenics as to question their clinical applicability and to indicate a need for further critical evaluation, with special attention to diagnosis, matching of subjects, and effects of possible spurious environmental variables.


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