Interneuron dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.
ABSTRACT Schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disabilities are best understood as spectrums of diseases that have broad sets of causes. However, it is becoming evident that these conditions also have overlapping phenotypes and genetics, which is suggestive of common deficits. In this context, the idea that the disruption of inhibitory circuits might be responsible for some of the clinical features of these disorders is gaining support. Recent studies in animal models demonstrate that the molecular basis of such disruption is linked to specific defects in the development and function of interneurons - the cells that are responsible for establishing inhibitory circuits in the brain. These insights are leading to a better understanding of the causes of schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disabilities, and may contribute to the development of more-effective therapeutic interventions.
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ABSTRACT: The human subependymal zone (SEZ) is debatably a source of newly born neurons throughout life and neurogenesis is a multi-step process requiring distinct transcripts during cell proliferation and early neuronal maturation, along with orchestrated changes in gene expression during cell state/fate transitions. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that the majority of our genome that results in production of non-protein coding RNAs plays vital roles in the evolution, development, adaptation and region-specific function of the human brain. We predicted that some transcripts expressed in the SEZ may be unique to this specialized brain region, and that a comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of this region would aid in defining expression changes during neuronal birth and growth in adult humans. Here, we used deep RNA sequencing of human SEZ tissue during adulthood and aging to characterize the transcriptional landscape with a particular emphasis on long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). The data shows predicted age-related changes in mRNAs encoding proliferation, progenitor and inflammatory proteins as well as a unique subset of lncRNAs that are highly expressed in the human SEZ, many of which have unknown functions. Our results suggest the existence of robust proliferative and neuronal differentiation potential in the adult human SEZ and lay the foundation for understanding the involvement of lncRNAs in postnatal neurogenesis and potentially associated neurodevelopmental diseases that emerge after birth.Frontiers in Neurology 03/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2015.00045
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ABSTRACT: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00059/fullFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 03/2015; 9:59. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.0005 · 4.16 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gene mutations and gene copy number variants are associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Affected gene products are often part of signaling networks implicated in synapse formation and/or function leading to alterations in the excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance. Although the network of parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons has gained particular attention in ASD, little is known on PV's putative role with respect to ASD. Genetic mouse models represent powerful translational tools for studying the role of genetic and neurobiological factors underlying ASD. Here, we report that PV knockout mice (PV(-/-)) display behavioral phenotypes with relevance to all three core symptoms present in human ASD patients: abnormal reciprocal social interactions, impairments in communication and repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. PV-depleted mice also showed several signs of ASD-associated comorbidities, such as reduced pain sensitivity and startle responses yet increased seizure susceptibility, whereas no evidence for behavioral phenotypes with relevance to anxiety, depression and schizophrenia was obtained. Reduced social interactions and communication were also observed in heterozygous (PV(+/-)) mice characterized by lower PV expression levels, indicating that merely a decrease in PV levels might be sufficient to elicit core ASD-like deficits. Structural magnetic resonance imaging measurements in PV(-/-) and PV(+/-) mice further revealed ASD-associated developmental neuroanatomical changes, including transient cortical hypertrophy and cerebellar hypoplasia. Electrophysiological experiments finally demonstrated that the E/I balance in these mice is altered by modification of both inhibitory and excitatory synaptic transmission. On the basis of the reported changes in PV expression patterns in several, mostly genetic rodent models of ASD, we propose that in these models downregulation of PV might represent one of the points of convergence, thus providing a common link between apparently unrelated ASD-associated synapse structure/function phenotypes.Translational Psychiatry 03/2015; 5(3):e525. DOI:10.1038/tp.2015.19 · 4.36 Impact Factor