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Schizophr Res. 2011 May;128(1-3):7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.01.021. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Altered levels of glutamatergic receptors and Na+/K+ ATPase-α1 in the prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia.

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Dept. Biology, Psychiatry Centre of Excellence in Drug Discovery, GlaxoSmithKline Medicines Research Centre, Verona, Italy.


Evidence has accumulated over the past years that dysregulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission maybe implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Glutamate acts on two major classes of receptors: ionotropic receptors, which are ligand-gated ion channels, and metabotropic receptors (mGluRs), coupled to heterotrimeric G-proteins. Although several pharmacological evidences point to abnormal glutamatergic transmission in schizophrenia, changes in the expression of glutamatergic receptors in the prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia remains equivocal. In the present work, we have investigated glutamatergic neurotransmission in schizophrenia by assessing the expression in Brodmann Area 10 of mGluR5, the AMPA receptor subunits GluR1 and GluR2, and Na(+)/K(+) ATPase-α1, a potential modulator of glutamate uptake in the brain. Semiquantitative analysis of the expression of these proteins from postmortem brains revealed a particularly prominent reduction of GluR1 and GluR2 expression in patients with schizophrenia vs the control group. Conversely, we observed an up-regulation in the levels of Na(+)/K(+) ATPase-α1 expression. Finally, no change in the protein levels of mGluR5 was observed in schizophrenia. Our findings support and expand the hypothesis of glutamatergic dysfunction in prefrontal cortex in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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