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This article is the author’s final published version in Cell and Bioscience, Volume 12, Issue 1, May 2022, Article number 56.

The published version is available at Copyright © Tsimberidou et al.


Background: Changes in the expression and activity of the AKT oncogene play an important role in psychiatric disease. We present translational data assessing the role of AKT in psychiatric symptoms.

Methods: (1) We assessed the protein activity of an AKT3 mutant harboring a PH domain mutation (Q60H) detected in a patient with schizophrenia, the corresponding AKT1 mutant (Q61H), and wild-type AKT1 and AKT3 transduced in AKT-null mouse fibroblasts and modeled the Q61H mutation onto the crystal structure of the Akt1 PH domain. (2) We analyzed the results of earlier genome-wide association studies to determine the distribution of schizophrenia-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the AKT3 gene. (3) We analyzed the psychiatric adverse events (AEs) of patients treated with M2698 (p70S6K/AKT1/AKT3 inhibitor) and with other PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors.

Results: (1) Proteins encoded by AKT3 (AKT3Q60H) and AKT1 (AKT1Q61H) mutants had lower kinase activity than those encoded by wild-type AKT3 and AKT1, respectively. Molecular modeling of the AKT1-Q61H mutant suggested conformational changes that may reduce the binding of D3-phosphorylated phosphoinositides to the PH domain. (2) We identified multiple SNPs in the AKT3 gene that were strongly associated with schizophrenia (p < 0.5 × 10-8). (3) Psychiatric AEs, mostly insomnia, anxiety, and depression, were noted in 29% of patients treated with M2698. In randomized studies, their incidence was higher in PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitor arms compared with placebo arms. All psychiatric AEs were reversible.

Conclusions: Our data elucidate the incidence and mechanisms of psychiatric AEs in patients treated with PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors and emphasize the need for careful monitoring.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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