Altered red cell membrane compositions related to functional vitamin B12 deficiency manifested by elevated urine methylmalonic acid concentrations in patients with schizophrenia

Ann Clin Biochem 2008;45:44-49
© 2008 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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Original Article

Ömer Özcan 1 ,
Osman Metin pçiolu 1,
Mustafa Gültepe 1 and
Cengiz Baolu 2

1 Department of Biochemistry;
2 Department of Psychiatry, GATA Haydarpasa Training Hospital, 81327 Üsküdar, stanbul, Turkey

Corresponding author: Dr Ömer Özcan. Email: ozcanmd{at}

Background: Abnormal cell membrane composition and functional cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency was reported in schizophrenic individuals.We aimed to investigate the relationship between cobalamin stateand cell membrane composition in patients with schizophrenia.

Methods: Malondialdehyde (MDA), cholesterol, and phospholipid classes in the erythrocyte membranes of 18 schizophrenic and 20 healthy individuals of the same age and sex distribution were determined. Serum vitamin B12, plasma total homocysteine, serum folate,and urine methylmalonic acid (uMMA) concentrations were measuredin both groups.

Results: In the schizophrenic group, uMMA, membrane MDA, membrane cholesterol, membrane phosphatidylinositol concentrations were significantly higher and the membrane phosphatidylserine concentrations were lower than the control group values. In schizophrenic individuals, uMMA concentrations have a significant positive correlation with membrane MDA and a negative correlation with membrane cholesterol concentrations (P < 0.05). The negative correlation of uMMAwith membrane cholesterol concentrations may be a biologicalresponse to the increased membrane rigidity. Also, a free radicalelevation related to the elevated uMMA concentrations in theerythrocyte membrane, might reflect the role of methylmalonicacid (MMA) in membrane damage.

Conclusion: Our present findings suggest that, functional vitamin B12 deficiencyrepresenting itself by MMA elevations in schizophrenic individualscould damage cell membrane.

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