New research indicates that the antioxidant ALA may be a promising augmentation strategy in schizophrenia. ALA has shown potential in other studies [1 , 2] and may also be helpful in reducing weight for patients taking antipsychotics – particularly those that are strongly antihistaminergic [3, 4]
Oxidative stress has important implications in schizophrenia. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a natural antioxidant synthesized in human tissues with clinical uses. We studied the effect of ALA or clozapine (CLZ) alone or in combination in the reversal of schizophrenia-like alterations induced by ketamine (KET). Adult male mice received saline or KET for 14 days. From 8th to 14th days mice were additionally administered saline, ALA (100 mg/kg), CLZ 2.5 or 5 mg/kg or the combinations ALA + CLZ2.5 or ALA + CLZ5. Schizophrenia-like symptoms were evaluated by prepulse inhibition of the startle (PPI) and locomotor activity (positive-like), social preference (negative-like) and Y maze (cognitive-like). Oxidative alterations (reduced glutathione — GSH and lipid peroxidation — LP) and nitrite in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus (HC) and striatum (ST) and BDNF in the PFC were also determined. KET caused deficits in PPI, working memory, social interaction and hyperlocomotion. Decreased levels of GSH, nitrite (HC) and BDNF and increased LP were also observed in KET-treated mice. ALA and CLZ alone reversed KET-induced behavioral alterations. These drugs also reversed the decreases in GSH (HC) and BDNF and increase in LP (PFC, HC and ST). The combination ALA + CLZ2.5 reversed behavioral and some neurochemical parameters. However, ALA + CLZ5 caused motor impairment. Therefore, ALA presented an antipsychotic-like profile reversing KET-induced positive- and negative-like symptoms. The mechanism partially involves antioxidant, neurotrophic and nitrergic pathways. The combination of ALA + CLZ2.5 improved most of the parameters evaluated in this study without causing motor impairment demonstrating, thus, that possibly when combined with ALA a lower dose of CLZ is required.