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Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Mar 15;41(6):636-43.

Immunoautoradiographic evidence for a loss of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate-preferring non-N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptors within the medial temporal lobe in schizophrenia.

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University Department of Psychiatry, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Decreased expression of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA)-preferring non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (non-NMDA) glutamate receptors (GluRs) occurs in the medial temporal lobe of schizophrenics in terms of reduced abundance of GluR1 and GluR2 subunit mRNAs. To investigate further these receptors in schizophrenia, we have performed a quantitative immunoautoradiographic study in medial temporal lobe sections of 11 schizophrenics and 10 well-matched controls. GluR1 and GluR2/3 were detected with polyclonal antisera coupled to 35S-labeled secondary antibodies. Both subunits were vulnerable to a prolonged postmortem interval and poor agonal state as indicated by brain pH. GluR1 also tended to decline with increasing age. These factors were therefore used as covariates. GluR1 abundance was reduced in schizophrenics in parahippocampal gyrus (p < .025), while GluR2/3 was lower in most subfields in the schizophrenics, significantly so in CA4 (p < .02). The present data extend the evidence for decreased expression of the AMPA subtype of non-NMDA receptors in the medial temporal lobe in schizophrenia, although the magnitude and spatial extent of the loss is smaller than that affecting the encoding mRNAs. Impaired AMPA receptor expression is consistent with a neurodevelopmental origin and with hypotheses of glutamatergic hypofunction in the disease; however, its true pathophysiological significance and relationship to the other neuropathological and pathochemical abnormalities in the medial temporal lobe in schizophrenia remain to be determined.

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