Accumulating evidence shows abnormal glucose metabolism in schizophrenia, even at the onset of psychosis. This study aims to examine the glucose and lipid metabolism in first-episode and drug naïve (FEDN) patients with schizophrenia and to explore their relationships with psychopathology, which have been under-investigated. Fasting glucose and lipid profiles, as well as homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index were determined in 120 never-medicated first-episode and 31 healthy control subjects matched for gender and age. The schizophrenia symptomatology was assessed by the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS).
Our results showed that schizophrenia patients had a significantly higher level of fasting plasma glucose (p < 0.0001) and insulin (p = 0.038). HOMA, an indicator of insulin resistance was higher in the patients than in the healthy controls (p = 0.008). No differences were found between the patients and healthy subjects in the levels of plasma triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein, except that the cholesterol level was higher in the patients than health subjects (p = 0.016). A significant negative association between plasma glucose levels and the PANSS positive symptom subscores was observed (p = 0.013). Stepwise multiple regression analysis identified insulin resistance, insulin and the PANSS positive symptom subscore as significant predictor factors for glucose level. These results suggest that abnormal glucose metabolism may be associated with the pathogenesis and psychopathology of schizophrenia in the early phases of the disease process.