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J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Jul;44(10):673-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2009.12.007. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Prefrontal GABA(A) receptor alpha-subunit expression in normal postnatal human development and schizophrenia.

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  • 1Schizophrenia Research Institute, Sydney 2021, Australia.

Abstract

Cortical GABA deficits that are consistently reported in schizophrenia may reflect an etiology of failed normal postnatal neurotransmitter maturation. Previous studies have found prefrontal cortical GABA(A) receptor alpha subunit alterations in schizophrenia, yet their relationship to normal developmental expression profiles in the human cortex has not been determined. The aim of this study was to quantify GABA(A) receptor alpha-subunit mRNA expression patterns in human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during normal postnatal development and in schizophrenia cases compared to controls. Transcript levels of GABA(A) receptor alpha subunits were measured using microarray and qPCR analysis of 60 normal individuals aged 6weeks to 49years and in 37 patients with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder and 37 matched controls. We detected robust opposing changes in cortical GABA(A) receptor alpha1 and alpha5 subunits during the first few years of postnatal development, with a 60% decrease in alpha5 mRNA expression and a doubling of alpha1 mRNA expression with increasing age. In our Australian schizophrenia cohort we detected decreased GAD67 mRNA expression (p=0.0012) and decreased alpha5 mRNA expression (p=0.038) in the DLPFC with no significant change of other alpha subunits. Our findings confirm that GABA deficits (reduced GAD67) are a consistent feature of schizophrenia postmortem brain studies. Our study does not confirm alterations in cortical alpha1 or alpha2 mRNA levels in the schizophrenic DLPFC, as seen in previous studies, but instead we report a novel down-regulation of alpha5 subunit mRNA suggesting that post-synaptic alterations of inhibitory receptors are an important feature of schizophrenia but may vary between cohorts.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20100621
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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