Altered expression of genes involved in GABAergic transmission and neuromodulation of granule cell activity in the cerebellum of schizophrenia patients.
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Deficits in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling have been described in the prefrontal cortex, limbic system, and cerebellum in individuals with schizophrenia. The purpose of the present study was to further investigate cerebellar gene expression alterations as they relate to decreases in GABAergic transmission by examining the expression of GABAergic markers, N-methyl-d-aspartic-acid (NMDA) receptor subunits, and cerebellum neuromodulators in individuals with schizophrenia.Subjects were postmortem men with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (N=13) and a postmortem interval-matched non-psychiatric male comparison group (N=13). The authors utilized real-time-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to measure mRNA levels of the following GABAergic markers: glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) 65 and 67; GABA plasma membrane transporter-1 (GAT-1); GABA type A (GABA(A)) receptor subunits alpha(6), beta(3), and delta; and parvalbumin. In addition, real-time-quantitative PCR was utilized to assess mRNA levels of the NMDA receptor (NR) subunits NR1, NR2-A, NR2-B, NR2-C, and NR2-D as well as the cerebellar neuromodulators glutamate receptor (GluR)-6, kainate-preferring glutamate receptor subunit-2 (KA2), metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)-2 and mGluR3, and neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Measurements for mRNA levels were determined using lateral cerebellar hemisphere tissue from both schizophrenia and comparison subjects.Schizophrenia subjects showed significant decreases in mRNA levels of GAD(67), GAD(65), GAT-1, mGluR2, and neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Increases in GABA(A)-alpha(6 )and GABA(A)-delta as well as GluR6 and KA2 were also observed. Medication effects on the expression of the same genes were examined in rats treated with either haloperidol (Sprague-Dawley rats [N=16]) or clozapine (Long-Evans rats [N=20]). Both haloperidol and clozapine increased the levels of GAD(67) in the cerebellum and altered the expression of other cerebellar mRNAs.These findings suggest that GABA transmission is decreased in the cerebellar cortices in individuals with schizophrenia and additional gene expression changes may reflect an attempt to increase GABA neurotransmission at the cerebellar glomerulus.