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Novartis Found Symp. 2008;289:165-77; discussion 177-9, 193-5.

Neuregulins and neuronal plasticity: possible relevance in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Section on Molecular Neurobiology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Abstract

Polymorphisms in the Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) and ErbB4 receptor genes have been associated with schizophrenia in numerous cohort and family studies, and biochemical measurements from postmortem prefrontal cortex homogenates suggest that NRG/ErbB signalling is altered in schizophrenia. Moreover, recent work from our group, and from others, indicates that NRG/ErbB signalling has a role in regulating glutamatergic transmission--an intriguing finding given that glutamatergic hypofunction has been proposed to be involved in the pathogenesis underlying schizophrenia. Here we will provide a brief background of the complexity of the NRG/ErbB signalling system. We will then focus on how NRG1 reverses (depotentiates) long-term potentiation (LTP) at hippocampal Schaeffer collateral--CA1 glutamatergic synapses in the adult brain. Specifically, we found that NRG1 depotentiates LTP in an activity- and time-dependent manner. A role of endogenous NRG for regulating plasticity at hippocampal synapses is supported by experiments demonstrating that ErbB receptor antagonists completely block LTP depotentiation by brief theta-pulse stimuli, a subthreshold stimulus paradigm that reverses LTP in live animals. Preliminary results indicate that NRG1-mediated LTP depotentiation is NMDA receptor independent, and manifests as an internalization of GluR1-containing AMPA receptors. The importance of the NRG/ ErbB signalling pathway in regulating homeostasis at glutamatergic synapses, and its possible implications for schizophrenia, will be discussed.

PMID:
18497102
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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