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J Psychiatr Res. 2009 Sep;43(13):1095-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2009.03.006. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

Reduced neuronal expression of insulin-degrading enzyme in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of patients with haloperidol-treated, chronic schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.


Insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) is a neutral thiol metalloprotease, which cleaves insulin with high specificity. Additionally, IDE hydrolyzes Abeta, glucagon, IGF I and II, and beta-endorphin. We studied the expression of IDE protein in postmortem brains of patients with schizophrenia and controls because: (1) the gene encoding IDE is located on chromosome 10q23-q25, a gene locus linked to schizophrenia; (2) insulin resistance with brain insulin receptor deficits/receptor dysfunction was reported in schizophrenia; (3) the enzyme cleaves IGF-I and IGF-II which are implicated in the pathophysiology of the disease; and (4) brain gamma-endorphin levels, liberated from beta-endorphin exclusively by IDE, have been reported to be altered in schizophrenia. We counted the number of IDE immunoreactive neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the hypothalamic paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei, and the basal nucleus of Meynert of 14 patients with schizophrenia and 14 matched control cases. Patients had long-term haloperidol treatment. In addition, relative concentrations of IDE protein in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were estimated by Western blot analysis. There was a significantly reduced number of IDE expressing neurons and IDE protein content in the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia compared with controls, but not in other brain areas investigated. Results of our studies on the influence of haloperidol on IDE mRNA expression in SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cells, as well as the effect of long-term treatment with haloperidol on the number of IDE immunoreactive neurons in rat brain, indicate that haloperidol per se, is not responsible for the decreased neuronal expression of the enzyme in schizophrenics. Haloperidol however, might exert some effect on IDE, through changes of the expression levels of its substrates IGF-I and II, insulin and beta-endorphin. Reduced cortical IDE expression might be part of the disturbed insulin signaling cascades found in schizophrenia. Furthermore, it might contribute to the altered metabolism of certain neuropeptides (IGF-I and IGF-II, beta-endorphin), in schizophrenia.

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