December 1970

Disruption of Myofibrils in the Skeletal Muscle of Psychotic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the departments of biology and anatomy (Dr. Fischman), and psychiatry (Dr. Meltzer, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute (Dr. Poppei), Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(6):503-515. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750060023003

PREVIOUS studies from this laboratory1-3 have demonstrated that an elevation of serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK, EC, of the muscle isozymic type, is found in approximately 60% of acutely psychotic patients at the onset of the acute psychotic episode. Evidence obtained by histochemical techniques4 revealed an abnormality of skeletal muscle in 44 of 64 acutely psychotic subjects. The histochemical pattern in these abnormal rasults of muscle biopsies was suggestive of a myopathic disorder.4 In this report, light and electron microscopic evidence is presented to indicate that substantial disruptive changes of the myofibrils occur in almost 40% of these psychotic patients, and these focal myofibrillar changes are compatible with a degenerative alteration of the muscle cell.


Subjects.—  Skeletal muscle was obtained from a total of 83 human subjects. Ten of these subjects were normal controls; they had normal serum CPK activities, had no personal or family history

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