The etiology of schizophrenia includes phospholipid abnormalities. Phospholipids are bioactive substances essential for brain function. To analyze differences in the quantity and types of phospholipids present in the brain tissue of patients with schizophrenia, we performed a global analysis of phospholipids in multiple brain samples using liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass/mass spectrometry (LC-ESI/MS/MS) and imaging mass spectrometry (IMS). We found significantly decreased 16:0/20:4-phosphatidylinositol (PI) levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the brains from patients with schizophrenia in the LC-ESI/MS/MS, and that the 16:0/20:4-PI in grey matter was most prominently diminished according to the IMS experiments. Previous reports investigating PI pathology of schizophrenia did not identify differences in the sn-1 and sn-2 fatty acyl chains. This study is the first to clear the fatty acid composition of PI in brains from patients with schizophrenia. Alteration in the characteristic fatty acid composition of PI may also affect neuronal function, and could play a role in the etiology of schizophrenia. Although further studies are necessary to understand the role of reduced 16:0/20:4-PI levels within the prefrontal cortex in the etiology of schizophrenia, our results provide insight into the development of a novel therapy for the clinical treatment of schizophrenia.
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