Although it is known for more than years that telomere length (TL) and telomerase enzyme (TE) activity are lower in patients with schizophrenia than in healthy individuals, no study has been conducted on the levels of shelterin complex (SC) components in patients with schizophrenia. This study was aimed at comparing the serum levels of subunits of SC which have regulatory function on TL in schizophrenia patients with those in healthy individuals. The study included 30 patients with schizophrenia treated and 30 healthy individuals. Blood samples were taken from the participants in the schizophrenia and control groups after 12 hours of fasting, and the intergroup levels of subunits [telomere repeat binding factor 1 (TRF1), telomere repeat binding factor 2 (TRF2), protection of telomere 1 (POT1), telomerase protection protein 1 (TPP1), TRF1 interaction factor 2 (TIN2) and Repressor activator protein 1 (RAP1)] of SC were compared. At the end of the study, while TRF2, TIN2, TPP1 and RAP1 levels were statistically significantly lower in the schizophrenia group than were those in the control group, TRF1 and POT1 levels were higher in the schizophrenia group than were those in the control group. There was a positive strong relationship between the participants' TRF2, TIN2, TPP1 and RAP1 levels, and the level of TRF2 decreased as the duration of the disease increased. This study is the first study in which the levels of subunits of SC in patients with schizophrenia were investigated. That the levels of subunits of SC just like those of TL and TE activity were lower in patients with schizophrenia is one of the possible factors that may support the neurodegeneration hypothesis in the pathology of disease. Based on this finding, new options can be considered in the early diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, Shelterin complex, Telomerase activity, Telomere length