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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Dec;27(6):906-13.

Homer 1a gene expression modulation by antipsychotic drugs: involvement of the glutamate metabotropic system and effects of D-cycloserine.

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Department of Neuroscience and Behavioral Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular Psychiatry and Psychopharmacotherapy, Section of Psychiatry, University School of Medicine Federico II, Naples, Italy.


N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor hypofunction has been suggested to play a role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. New glutamatergic mechanisms involving metabotropic receptors have been recently proposed to further expand this hypothesis. "Homer" is a family of postsynaptic density proteins functionally and physically attached to glutamate metabotropic receptors. We investigated the activation of the early gene form of Homer after acute treatment with typical or atypical antipsychotic drugs alone or with the adjunction of D-cycloserine. This activation was compared with that of c-fos, considered a putative molecular marker of brain regions activated by antipsychotics. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated intraperitoneally with haloperidol (0.8 mg/Kg) or clozapine (15 mg/Kg) alone or with the adjunction of D-cycloserine (20 mg/Kg). Rats were sacrificed ninety minutes after injection and the brains were processed for quantitative in situ hybridization histochemistry. Haloperidol induced a statistically significant increase of Homer both in caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens compared with controls; clozapine induced Homer significantly only in the accumbens. The adjunction of D-cycloserine attenuated the haloperidol-induced increase of Homer expression in caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens and attenuated the clozapine-induced increase in the accumbens. The c-fos gene expression was potently induced by haloperidol in caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens, and by clozapine only in the accumbens. The adjunction of D-cycloserine enhanced c-fos expression only for clozapine in both regions of the forebrain. These results demonstrate a differential involvement of glutamatergic metabotropic system in gene expression modulation induced by typical or atypical antipsychotic drugs and may suggest new molecular basis for the augmentation strategy by a glycine site partial agonist.

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