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Mol Psychiatry. 2004 Mar;9(3):299-307.

Expression analysis of neuregulin-1 in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Genetic linkage and association have implicated neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) as a schizophrenia susceptibility gene. We measured mRNA expression levels of the three major isoforms of NRG-1 (ie type I, type II, and type III) in the postmortem dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) from matched patients and controls using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Expression levels of three internal controls-GAPDH, cyclophilin, and beta-actin-were unchanged in schizophrenia, and there were no changes in the absolute levels of the NRG-1 isoforms. However, type I expression normalized by GAPDH levels was significantly increased in schizophrenia DLPFC (by 23%) and positively correlated with antipsychotic medication dosage. Type II/type I and type II/type III ratios were significantly decreased (18 and 23% respectively). There was no effect on the NRG-1 mRNA levels of genotype at two SNPs previously associated with schizophrenia, suggesting that these alleles are not functionally responsible for abnormal NRG-1 expression patterns in patients. Subtle abnormalities in the expression patterns of NRG-1 mRNA isoforms in DLPFC may be associated with schizophrenia.

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