Relationship of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its receptor TrkB to altered inhibitory prefrontal circuitry in schizophrenia
ABSTRACT Dysfunction of inhibitory neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), represented by decreased expression of GABA-related genes such as the 67 kDa isoform of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD67) and parvalbumin (PV), appears to contribute to cognitive deficits in subjects with schizophrenia. We investigated the involvement of signaling mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB in producing the altered GABA-related gene expression in schizophrenia. In 15 pairs of subjects with schizophrenia and matched control subjects, both BDNF and TrkB mRNA levels, as assessed by in situ hybridization, were significantly decreased in the PFC of the subjects with schizophrenia, whereas the levels of mRNA encoding the receptor tyrosine kinase for neurotrophin-3, TrkC, were unchanged. In this cohort, within-pair changes in TrkB mRNA levels were significantly correlated with those in both GAD67 and PV mRNA levels. Decreased BDNF, TrkB, and GAD67 mRNA levels were replicated in a second cohort of 12 subject pairs. In the combined cohorts, the correlation between within-pair changes in TrkB and GAD67 mRNA levels was significantly stronger than the correlation between the changes in BDNF and GAD67 mRNA levels. Neither BDNF nor TrkB mRNA levels were changed in the PFC of monkeys after a long-term exposure to haloperidol. Genetically introduced decreases in TrkB expression, but not in BDNF expression, also resulted in decreased GAD67 and PV mRNA levels in the PFC of adult mice; in addition, the cellular pattern of altered GAD67 mRNA expression paralleled that present in schizophrenia. Decreased TrkB signaling appears to underlie the dysfunction of inhibitory neurons in the PFC of subjects with schizophrenia.
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ABSTRACT: Late adolescence in males is a period of increased susceptibility for the onset of schizophrenia, coinciding with increased circulating testosterone. The cognitive deficits prevalent in schizophrenia may be related to unhealthy cortical interneurons, which are trophically dependent on brain derived neurotrophic factor. We investigated, under conditions of depleted (monkey and rat) and replaced (rat) testosterone over adolescence, changes in gene expression of cortical BDNF and TrkB transcripts and interneuron markers and the relationships between these mRNAs and circulating testosterone. Testosterone removal by gonadectomy reduced gene expression of some BDNF transcripts in monkey and rat frontal cortices and the BDNF mRNA reduction was prevented by testosterone replacement. In rat, testosterone replacement increased the potential for classical TrkB signalling by increasing the full length to truncated TrkB mRNA ratio, whereas in the monkey cortex, circulating testosterone was negatively correlated with the TrkB full length/truncated mRNA ratio. We did not identify changes in interneuron gene expression in monkey frontal cortex in response to gonadectomy, and in rat, we showed that only somatostatin mRNA was decreased by gonadectomy but not restored by testosterone replacement. We identified complex and possibly species-specific, relationships between BDNF/TrkB gene expression and interneuron marker gene expression that appear to be dependent on the presence of testosterone at adolescence in rat and monkey frontal cortices. Taken together, our findings suggest there are dynamic relationships between BDNF/TrkB and interneuron markers that are dependent on the presence of testosterone but that this may not be a straightforward increase in testosterone leading to changes in BDNF/TrkB that contributes to interneuron health. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.Schizophrenia Research 06/2015; 85. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2015.05.040 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: GABAergic dysfunction has been strongly implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. In this study, we analyzed the expression levels of several GABAergic genes in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of postmortem subjects with schizophrenia (n=21) and a comparison group of individuals without a history of psychiatric illness (n=18). Our analyses revealed a significant sex by diagnosis effect, along with significant differences in GABAergic gene expression based on medication status. Analyses revealed that in male groups, the expression of GABAergic genes was generally lower in schizophrenia cases compared to the controls, with significantly lower expression levels of GABA-Aα5, GABA-Aβ1, and GABA-Aε. In females, the expression of GABAergic genes was higher in the schizophrenia cases, with significantly higher expression of the GABA-Aβ1 and GAD67 genes. Analysis of the effect of medication in the schizophrenia subjects revealed significantly higher expression of GABA-Aα1-3, GABA-Aβ2, GABA-Aγ2, and GAD67 in the medicated group compared to the unmedicated group. These data show that sex differences in the expression of GABAergic genes occur in the ACC in schizophrenia. Therefore, our data support previous findings of GABAergic dysfunction in schizophrenia and emphasize the importance of considering sex in analyses of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Sex differences in the GABAergic regulation of ACC function may contribute to the differences observed in the symptoms of male and female patients with schizophrenia. In addition, our findings indicate that antipsychotic medications may alter GABAergic signaling in the ACC, supporting the potential of GABAergic targets for the development of novel antipsychotic medication. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Schizophrenia Research 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2015.01.025 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective The present study was to examine serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), folate, homocysteine (Hcy), and their relationships with hippocampal volume and psychopathology in drug naïve, first episode schizophrenia. Method Drug naïve, first episode schizophrenia patients and healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Serum levels of BDNF, folate and Hcy were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA), and enzymatic cycling method respectively. Hippocampus was parcellated and bilateral hippocampal volumes were measured using FreeSurfer. Results Forty-six patients with drug naïve, first episode schizophrenia (SZ group) and 30 healthy controls (control group) were enrolled. The SZ group had significantly lower serum levels of BDNF and folate, and significantly higher serum levels of Hcy compared with the control group (p = 0.013, p < 0.001, p = 0.003 respectively). There were no significant differences in hippocampal volumes between the two groups (ps > 0.2). Within the SZ group, there were significant positive relationships between serum levels of BDNF and both left and right hippocampal volumes (r = 0.327, p = 0.026; r = 0.338, p = 0.022 respectively). In contrast, such relationships did not exist in the control group. Within the SZ group, there were significant negative relationships between serum levels of folate and PANSS-total scores and PANSS-negative symptom scores (r = 0.319, p = 0.031; r = 0.321, p = 0.030 respectively); and there was a positive relationship between serum levels of Hcy and PANSS-total scores (r = 0.312, p = 0.035). Controlling for potential confounding variables resulted in similar findings. Conclusions Drug naïve, first episode schizophrenia presents decreased serum levels of BDNF, folate and increased serum levels of Hcy, which may play an important role in the neurodevelopmental process and clinical manifestation of schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Research 10/2014; 159(1). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.07.033 · 4.43 Impact Factor