• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of pnasPNASInfo for AuthorsSubscriptionsAboutThis Article
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 25, 2005; 102(43): 15653–15658.
Published online Oct 17, 2005. doi:  10.1073/pnas.0507901102
PMCID: PMC1257393

Altered cortical glutamatergic and GABAergic signal transmission with glial involvement in depression


Abnormalities in l-glutamic acid (glutamate) and GABA signal transmission have been postulated to play a role in depression, but little is known about the underlying molecular determinants and neural mechanisms. Microarray analysis of specific areas of cerebral cortex from individuals who had suffered from major depressive disorder demonstrated significant down-regulation of SLC1A2 and SLC1A3, two key members of the glutamate/neutral amino acid transporter protein family, SLC1. Similarly, expression of l-glutamate-ammonia ligase, the enzyme that converts glutamate to nontoxic glutamine was significantly decreased. Together, these changes could elevate levels of extracellular glutamate considerably, which is potentially neurotoxic and can affect the efficiency of glutamate signaling. The astroglial distribution of the two glutamate transporters and l-glutamate-ammonia ligase strongly links glia to the pathophysiology of depression and challenges the conventional notion that depression is solely a neuronal disorder. The same cortical areas displayed concomitant up-regulation of several glutamate and GABAA receptor subunits, of which GABAAα1 and GABAAβ3 showed selectivity for individuals who had died by suicide, indicating their potential utility as biomarkers of suicidality. These findings point to previously undiscovered molecular underpinnings of the pathophysiology of major depression and offer potentially new pharmacological targets for treating depression.

Keywords: bipolar disorder, GABAA receptors, glutamate transporters, major depression, suicide

Articles from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America are provided here courtesy of National Academy of Sciences
PubReader format: click here to try


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • Nucleotide
    Published Nucleotide sequences
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...