Researchers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro in Italy have discovered a potential new biomarker for disease severity among people experiencing their first episode of psychosis.

Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) levels are lower in people experiencing a first episode of psychosis, compared to their healthy peers. Among those with psychosis, ACE levels are even lower in those with resistant disease, suggesting that the enzyme is indicative of severity.

By identifying this connection between ACE and psychosis severity, researchers believe the enzyme can be used to identify individuals who may be resistant to antipsychotic treatment. This information may help to ensure appropriate treatment and care for individuals with psychosis.

Thomas W. Sedlak, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural health at Johns Hopkins University, noted that this research is preliminary, and more investigation is needed to confirm an association between ACE and psychosis severity. But the research is promising, and previous studies have also suggested a link between ACE and psychiatric conditions. The findings were presented at the Congress of the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) 2020 Virtual Meeting. 

Read more about this research discovery on Medscape.