Neural cell-derived plasma exosome protein abnormalities implicate mitochondrial impairment in first episodes of psychosis

E.J. Goetzl*, V.H. Srihari, S. Guloksuz, M. Ferrara, C. Tek, G.R. Heninger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Neuroprotective and other functional proteins of mitochondria were quantified in extracts of plasma neural-derived exosomes from ten first-episode psychosis (FP) patients and ten matched psychiatrically normal controls (ctls). Astrocyte-derived extracellular vesicles (ADEVs) and neuron-derived extracellular vesicles (NDEVs) were immunoabsorbed separately from physically precipitated plasma total EVs. Extracted mitochondrial ATP synthase was specifically immunofixed to plastic wells for quantification of catalytic activity based on conversion of NADH to NAD(+). Other extracted mitochondrial functional proteins were quantified by ELISAs. All protein levels were normalized with EV content of the CD81 exosome marker. FP patient ADEV level but not NDEV level of mitochondrial ATP synthase activity was significantly lower than that of ctls. FP patient ADEV and NDEV levels of the functionally critical mitochondrial proteins mitofusin 2 and cyclophilin D, but not of transcription factor A of mitochondria, and of the mitochondrial short open-reading frame neuroprotective and metabolic regulatory peptides humanin and MOTS-c were significantly lower than those of ctls. In contrast, FP patient NDEV, but not ADEV, level of the mitochondrial-tethering protein syntaphilin, but not of myosin VI, was significantly higher than that of ctls. The distinctively different neural levels of some mitochondrial proteins in FP patients than ctls now should be correlated with diverse clinical characteristics. Drugs that increase depressed levels of proteins and mimetics of deficient short open-reading frame peptides may be of therapeutic value in early phases of schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21339
Number of pages8
JournalFaseb Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • ATP synthase
  • cyclophilin D
  • humanin
  • mitofusin 2
  • MOTS&#8208
  • c
  • schizophrenia
  • AGE


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