Study of Trace Elements Levels and Oxidative Stress in Ghanaian Psychiatric Patients Receiving Medication and Treatment Naive Patients

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The pathogenesis of a number of diseases like Psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer has been associated with changes in the balance of certain trace elements. Many disorders of the body are related to the altered serum mineral and trace element levels. It is indicative that there is an association between increased oxidative stress and the majority of psychiatric disorders which correlate with the integration of fatty acids and antioxidants, whether from a dietary-habit point of view or from a therapeutic point of view. The question therefore arises whether treatment of psychiatric patients will lead to trace elements dysmetabolism and subsequently oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to estimate trace element (Cu, Zn, Se, Mn, Fe, As, Li, and Cd) levels, oxidative stress and risk factors associated with Psychiatric disorders. In all, one hundred hundred (100) subject were included in the study; fourty (40) treatment naïve, fourty (40) patients receiving medication and twenty (20) control group. The subjects were recruited from the Psychiatric Unit of the Komfo Anokye teaching hospital. Among the three studied population, there was a significant difference in their systolic blood pressure (p=0.0135). Treatment Naïve patients significantly weighed lesser (57.38±1.65) than patients on treatment (69.69±1.76) and the control group (65.80±2.25) (p<0.0001). The mean body mass index of treatment Naïve patient (22.99±0.71) was lower compare to the patient s on treatment (26.56±0.69) and control (23.00±1.08) (p=0.0016). The mean concentrations of copper levels among treatment naïve patient (0.39±0.03) were significantly lower than patients on treatment (0.44±0.03) and the control (0.56±0.05) with a p value of 0.003. Copper levels correlated negatively to a small size effect with zinc levels in treatment naïve patients.The mean concentrations of vitamin E in treatment naïve patient (7.67±0.31) were significantly lower than that of the patient receiving treatment (9.98±0.26) and the control group (11.98±0.28) (p< 0.0001). Malondialdehyde levels were also significantly higher in treatment naïve patient (0.77±0.02) than the patient on treatment (0.69±0.02) and the control (0.66±0.02) (p<0.0001). Selenium levels of treatment naïve patients did not show any correlations with the trace elements, except for zinc in large size effect and iron medium size effect but in patient receiving medication, selenium levels correlated positively with vitamin C in a medium size effect. It is clear from this study that during the progression of psychiatric disorders, there is a concomitant induction of cellular oxidative stress characterized by; an increase in Malodialdehyde (MDA), a product from lipid peroxidation and reduced scavenging activities of vitamin C and E. It is further recommended that studies are done to establish the relationship between Selenium Copper, Zinc and Cadmium among psychiatric patients.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, August-2012