Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2023 Feb;21(1):171-178. 10.9758/cpn.2023.21.1.171.

Evaluation Expression of the Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 Apoptotic Genes in Schizophrenia Patients

  • 1Health Services Vocational School, Bayburt University, Bayburt, Turkey
  • 22 Department of Mental Health and Related Disorders, Faculty of Medicine, Atatürk University, Erzurum, Turkey


Apoptosis is programmed cell death that occurs by several pathways. Caspase-3 is induced by active caspase-9 via the intrinsic pathway. The aim of this research was to explore the expression of caspase-3 and caspase-9 in schizophrenia patients and healthy samples.
RNA was isolated from the peripheral blood of 39 schizophrenia patients’ and healthy samples. After cDNA synthesis, real time PCR (RT-PCR) was used to analyse caspase-3 and caspase-9 gene expression. The severity of psychopathological symptoms of schizophrenia was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale for schizophrenia (PANSS) and Clinical Global Impressions (CGI).
The expression of caspase-3 and caspase-9 genes was higher in schizophrenia patients than in healthy samples (p = 0.012, p = 0.002, respectively). The increase in caspase-3 gene expression was significant with being male, smoking and with a duration of less than 6 years (p = 0.047, p = 0.049, p = 0.034, respectively). On the other hand, the increase in caspase-9 gene expression was significant in patients who is smoke, have children, and are under 33 years old (p = 0.040, p = 0.043, p = 0.045, respectively). A significant positive correlation was detected between the caspase-3 and caspase-9 gene expression (r = 0.3218, p = 0.049).
Our findings indicate that caspase-3 and caspase-9 gene expression may activate cell death mechanisms by intrinsic apoptotic genes. Furthermore, caspase-3 and caspase-9 may play essential roles in different ways in schizophrenia. Hence there is a need to further study the apoptotic mechanism with expanded patient populations.


Schizophrenia; Apoptosis; Caspase-3; Caspase-9; Real time PCR; Intrinsic pathway
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