Neurobiology of cognition in schizophreniform conditions

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    A study of the relationship between biomarkers and cognitive performance in healthy people and patients with Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorders



  • Contact name

    Oliver Howes

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Kings College London

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    4 years, 4 months, 30 days

  • Research summary

    Schizophrenia, and related mental illnesses, are marked by impairments in cognitive performance (i.e. faculties such as memory, learning, processing speed, decision-making). Studies using a special scanner (PET – Positron emission tomography) have shown that people with schizophrenia have a lower density of nerve junctions ('synapses') and certain mitochondrial proteins in particular brain regions when compared to healthy people. However, it is unknown whether these synaptic differences are associated with the cognitive impairment seen in people with schizophrenia.

    In this study we aim to investigate participants' synapse density using PET/CT imaging. PET scans will be performed with a radiotracer for a particular synaptic protein called SV2A, and another for mitochondrial complex 1.

    We will also take samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid, to understand their relationship to the illness. We will take hair samples for the purposes of cultivating IPSCs. Participants will also undergo brain MRI scans to obtain information about brain structure, function and blood flow. Again, all these findings will be compared with participants' cognitive function.

    Patients diagnosed with psychotic illness will be recruited and study visits will take place at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), KCL, King's College Hospital, and imaging centres Invicro (Trading as Imanova) and Robert Steiner Unit, based at Hammersmith Hospital.

  • REC name

    Wales REC 4

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    2 Jun 2023

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion