Genetic deletion of fibroblast growth factor 14 recapitulates phenotypic alterations underlying cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia.
ABSTRACT: Cognitive processing is highly dependent on the functional integrity of gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) interneurons in the brain. These cells regulate excitability and synaptic plasticity of principal neurons balancing the excitatory/inhibitory tone of cortical networks. Reduced function of parvalbumin (PV) interneurons and disruption of GABAergic synapses in the cortical circuitry result in desynchronized network activity associated with cognitive impairment across many psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. However, the mechanisms underlying these complex phenotypes are still poorly understood. Here we show that in animal models, genetic deletion of fibroblast growth factor 14 (Fgf14), a regulator of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission, leads to loss of PV interneurons in the CA1 hippocampal region, a critical area for cognitive function. Strikingly, this cellular phenotype associates with decreased expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) and vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) and also coincides with disrupted CA1 inhibitory circuitry, reduced in vivo gamma frequency oscillations and impaired working memory. Bioinformatics analysis of schizophrenia transcriptomics revealed functional co-clustering of FGF14 and genes enriched within the GABAergic pathway along with correlatively decreased expression of FGF14, PVALB, GAD67 and VGAT in the disease context. These results indicate that Fgf14(-/-) mice recapitulate salient molecular, cellular, functional and behavioral features associated with human cognitive impairment, and FGF14 loss of function might be associated with the biology of complex brain disorders such as schizophrenia.
Project description:Dysfunction of cortical parvalbumin (PV)-containing GABAergic interneurons has been implicated in cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. In humans microdeletion of the CHRNA7 (?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, nAChR) gene is associated with cortical dysfunction in a broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia while in mice similar deletion causes analogous abnormalities including impaired attention, working-memory and learning. However, the pathophysiological roles of ?7 nAChRs in cortical PV GABAergic development remain largely uncharacterized. In both in vivo and in vitro models, we identify here that deletion of the ?7 nAChR gene in mice impairs cortical PV GABAergic development and recapitulates many of the characteristic neurochemical deficits in PV-positive GABAergic interneurons found in schizophrenia. ?7 nAChR null mice had decreased cortical levels of GABAergic markers including PV, glutamic acid decarboxylase 65/67 (GAD65/67) and the ?1 subunit of GABAA receptors, particularly reductions of PV and GAD67 levels in cortical PV-positive interneurons during late postnatal life and adulthood. Cortical GABAergic synaptic deficits were identified in the prefrontal cortex of ?7 nAChR null mice and ?7 nAChR null cortical cultures. Similar disruptions in development of PV-positive GABAergic interneurons and perisomatic synapses were found in cortical cultures lacking ?7 nAChRs. Moreover, NMDA receptor expression was reduced in GABAergic interneurons, implicating NMDA receptor hypofunction in GABAergic deficits in ?7 nAChR null mice. Our findings thus demonstrate impaired cortical PV GABAergic development and multiple characteristic neurochemical deficits reminiscent of schizophrenia in cortical PV-positive interneurons in ?7 nAChR gene deletion models. This implicates crucial roles of ?7 nAChRs in cortical PV GABAergic development and dysfunction in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
Project description:Convergent findings indicate that cortical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic circuitry is altered in schizophrenia. Postmortem studies have consistently found lower levels of glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) messenger RNA (mRNA) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of subjects with schizophrenia. At the cellular level, the density of GABA neurons with detectable levels of GAD67 mRNA is ~30% lower across cortical layers. Knowing how this transcript deficit translates to GAD67 protein levels in axonal boutons is important for understanding the impact it might have on GABA synthesis. In addition, because reductions in GAD67 expression before, but not after, the maturation of GABAergic boutons results in a lower density of GABAergic boutons in mouse cortical cultures, knowing if GABAergic bouton density is altered in schizophrenia would provide insight into the timing of the GAD67 deficit.PFC tissue sections from 20 matched pairs of schizophrenia and comparison subjects were immunolabeled for the vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT) and GAD67.vGAT+ bouton density did not differ between subject groups, consistent with findings that vGAT mRNA levels are unaltered in the illness and confirming that the number of cortical GABAergic boutons is not lower in schizophrenia. In contrast, in schizophrenia subjects, the proportion of vGAT+ boutons with detectable GAD67 levels (vGAT+/GAD67+ boutons) was 16% lower and mean GAD67 levels were 14% lower in the remaining vGAT+/GAD67+ boutons.Our findings suggest that GABA production is markedly reduced in a subset of boutons in the PFC of schizophrenia subjects and that this reduction likely occurs after the maturation of GABAergic boutons.
Project description:Decreased expression of the GABA synthetic enzyme glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) in a subset of GABAergic neurons, including parvalbumin (PV)-expressing neurons, has been observed in postmortem brain studies of schizophrenics and in animal models of schizophrenia. However, it is unclear whether and how the perturbations of GAD67-mediated GABA synthesis and signaling contribute to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. To address this issue, we generated the mice lacking GAD67 primarily in PV neurons and characterized them with focus on schizophrenia-related parameters. We found that heterozygous mutant mice exhibited schizophrenia-related behavioral abnormalities such as deficits in prepulse inhibition, MK-801 sensitivity, and social memory. Furthermore, we observed reduced inhibitory synaptic transmission, altered properties of NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic responses in pyramidal neurons, and increased spine density in hippocampal CA1 apical dendrites, suggesting a possible link between GAD67 deficiency and disturbed glutamatergic excitatory synaptic functions in schizophrenia. Thus, our results indicate that the mice heterozygous for GAD67 deficiency primarily in PV neurons share several neurochemical and behavioral abnormalities with schizophrenia, offering a novel tool for addressing the underlying pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
Project description:Exposure to maternal stress (MS) and mutations in GAD1, which encodes the ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesizing enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) 67, are both risk factors for psychiatric disorders. However, the relationship between these risk factors remains unclear. Interestingly, the critical period of MS for psychiatric disorders in offspring corresponds to the period of GABAergic neuron neurogenesis and migration in the fetal brain, that is, in the late stage of gestation. Indeed, decrement of parvalbumin (PV)-positive GABAergic interneurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus (HIP) has often been observed in schizophrenia patients. In the present study, we used GAD67-green fluorescent protein (GFP) knock-in mice (that is, mice in which the Gad1 gene is heterozygously deleted; GAD67(+/GFP)) that underwent prenatal stress from embryonic day 15.0 to 17.5 and monitored PV-positive GABAergic neurons to address the interaction between Gad1 disruption and stress. Administration of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine revealed that neurogenesis of GFP-positive GABAergic neurons, but not cortical plate cells, was significantly diminished in fetal brains during MS. Differential expression of glucocorticoid receptors by different progenitor cell types may underlie this differential outcome. Postnatally, the density of PV-positive, but not PV-negative, GABAergic neurons was significantly decreased in the mPFC, HIP and somatosensory cortex but not in the motor cortex of GAD67(+/GFP) mice. By contrast, these findings were not observed in wild-type (GAD67(+/+)) offspring. These results suggest that prenatal stress, in addition to heterozygous deletion of Gad1, could specifically disturb the proliferation of neurons destined to be PV-positive GABAergic interneurons.
Project description:Accumulating evidence suggests that neuregulin 1 (NRG1) might be involved in the neurodevelopment, neural plasticity, GABAergic neurotransmission, and pathogenesis of schizophrenia. NRG1 is abundantly expressed in the hippocampus, and emerging studies have begun to reveal the link between NRG1 signaling and cognitive deficits in schizophrenic patients. Because the transmembrane domain of NRG1 is vital for both forward and reverse signaling cascades, new Nrg1-deficient mice that carry a truncation of the transmembrane domain of the Nrg1 gene were characterized and used in this study to test a NRG1 loss-of-function hypothesis for schizophrenia. Both male and female Nrg1 heterozygous mutant mice and their wild-type littermates were used in a series of 4 experiments to characterize the impact of Nrg1 on behavioral phenotypes and to determine the importance of Nrg1 in the regulation of hippocampal neuromorphology and local GABAergic interneurons. First, a comprehensive battery of behavioral tasks indicated that male Nrg1-deficient mice exhibited significant impairments in cognitive functions. Second, pharmacological challenges were conducted and revealed that Nrg1 haploinsufficiency altered GABAergic activity in males. Third, although no genotype-specific neuromorphological alterations were found in the hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, significant reductions in the hippocampal expressions of GAD67 and parvalbumin were revealed in the Nrg1-deficient males. Fourth, chronic treatment with valproate rescued the observed behavioral deficits and hippocampal GAD67 reduction in Nrg1-deficient males. Collectively, these results indicate the potential therapeutic effect of valproate and the importance of Nrg1 in the regulation of cognitive functions and hippocampal GABAergic interneurons, especially in males.
Project description:Rett syndrome (RTT), associated with mutations in methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2), is linked to diverse neurological symptoms such as seizures, motor disabilities, and cognitive impairments. An altered GABAergic system has been proposed as one of many underlying pathologies of progressive neurodegeneration in several RTT studies. This study for the first time investigated the temporal- and location-specific alterations in the expression of ?-amino butyric acid (GABA) transporter 1 (GAT-1), vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT), and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67kD (GAD67) in wild type (WT) and knockout (KO) mice in the Mecp2(tm1.1Bird/y) mouse model of RTT. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) co-labeling of GAT-1 with vGAT identified GABAergic synapses that were quantitated for mid-sagittal sections in the frontal cortex (FC), hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), and striatum (Str). An age-dependent increase in the expression of synaptic GABA transporters, GAT-1, and vGAT, was observed in the FC and DG in WT brains. Mecp2 KO mice showed a significant alteration in this temporal profile that was location-specific, only in the FC. GAD67-positive cell densities also showed an age-dependent increase in the FC, but a decrease in the DG in WT mice. However, these densities were not significantly altered in the KO mice in the regions examined in this study. Therefore, the significant location-specific downregulation of synaptic GABA transporters in Mecp2 KO brains with unaltered densities of GAD67-positive interneurons may highlight the location-specific synaptic pathophysiology in this model of RTT.
Project description:Markers of GABA neurotransmission are altered in multiple regions of the neocortex in individuals with schizophrenia. Lower levels of glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) mRNA and protein, which is responsible for most cortical GABA synthesis, are accompanied by lower levels of GABA membrane transporter 1 (GAT1) mRNA. These alterations are thought to be most prominent in the parvalbumin (PV)-containing subclass of interneurons, which also contain lower levels of PV mRNA. Since GAT1 and PV each reduce the availability of GABA at postsynaptic receptors, lower levels of GAT1 and PV mRNAs have been hypothesized to represent compensatory responses to an upstream reduction in cortical GABA synthesis in schizophrenia. However, such cause-and-effect hypotheses cannot be directly tested in a human illness. Consequently, we used two mouse models with reduced GAD67 expression specifically in PV neurons (PV(GAD67+/-)) or in all interneurons (GABA(GAD67+/-)) and quantified GAD67, GAT1 and PV mRNA levels using methods identical to those employed in studies of schizophrenia. Cortical levels of PV or GAT1 mRNAs were not altered in PV(GAD67+/-) mice during postnatal development or in adulthood. Furthermore, cellular analyses confirmed the predicted reduction in GAD67 mRNA, but failed to show a deficit in PV mRNA in these animals. Levels of PV and GAT1 mRNAs were also unaltered in GABA(GAD67+/-) mice. Thus, mouse lines with cortical reductions in GAD67 mRNA that match or exceed those present in schizophrenia, and that differ in the developmental timing and cell type-specificity of the GAD67 deficit, failed to provide proof-of-concept evidence that lower PV and GAT1 expression in schizophrenia are a consequence of lower GAD67 expression. Together, these findings suggest that the correlated decrements in cortical GAD67, PV and GAT1 mRNAs in schizophrenia may be a common consequence of some other upstream factor.
Project description:We studied the cellular organization of the piriform network [comprising the piriform cortex (PC) and endopiriform nucleus (EP)] of the ferret (<i>Mustela putorius</i>)-a highly excitable region prone to seizures-and, more specifically, the distribution and morphology of different types of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurons, and the distribution and ratio of glutamatergic and GABAergic boutons, and we compared our findings to those in primary visual area 17, and secondary areas 18 and 19. We accomplished this by using cytochrome oxidase and immunohistochemistry for mature neuronal nuclei (NeuN), GABAergic neurons [glutamic acid decarboxylase-67 (GAD67), calretinin (CR) and parvalbumin (PV)], and for excitatory (vesicular glutamate transporter 1; VGluT1) and inhibitory (vesicular GABA transporter; VGAT) boutons. In the ferret, the cellular organization of the piriform network is similar to that described in other species such as cats, rats and opossums although some differences also exist. GABAergic immunolabeling showed similarities between cortical layers I-III of the PC and visual areas, such as the relative distribution of GABAergic neurons and the density and area of VGluT1- and VGAT-immunoreactive boutons. However, multiple differences between the piriform network and visual areas (layers I-VI) were found, such as the percentage of GABAergic neurons with respect to the total number of neurons and the ratio of VGluT1- and VGAT-immunoreactive boutons. These findings are relevant to better understand the high excitability of the piriform network.
Project description:Deficient excitatory drive to parvalbumin-containing cortical interneurons is proposed as a key neural substrate for altered gamma oscillations and cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. However, a pathological entity producing such a deficit has not been identified. The authors tested the hypothesis that cortical parvalbumin interneurons receive fewer excitatory synaptic inputs in individuals with schizophrenia.Fluorescent immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, and post-image processing techniques were used to quantify the number of putative excitatory synapses (i.e., the overlap of vesicular glutamate transporter 1-positive [VGlut1+] puncta and postsynaptic density protein 95-positive [PSD95+] puncta) per surface area of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) or calretinin-positive (CR+) neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex from schizophrenia subjects and matched unaffected comparison subjects.Mean density of VGlut1+/PSD95+ puncta on PV+ neurons was 18% lower in schizophrenia, a significant difference. This deficit was not influenced by methodological confounds or schizophrenia-associated comorbid factors, not present in monkeys chronically exposed to antipsychotic medications, and not present in CR+ neurons. Mean density of VGlut1+/PSD95+ puncta on PV+ neurons predicted the activity-dependent expression levels of parvalbumin and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) in schizophrenia subjects but not comparison subjects.To the authors' knowledge, this is the first demonstration that excitatory synapse density is lower selectively on parvalbumin interneurons in schizophrenia and predicts the activity-dependent down-regulation of parvalbumin and GAD67. Because the activity of parvalbumin interneurons is required for generation of cortical gamma oscillations and working memory function, these findings reveal a novel pathological substrate for cortical dysfunction and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
Project description:Hippocampal inhibitory interneurons are a diverse population of cells widely scattered in the hippocampus, where they regulate hippocampal circuit activity. The hippocampus receives cholinergic projections from the basal forebrain, and functional studies have suggested the presence of different subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic interneurons. Single-cell polymerase chain reaction analysis had confirmed that several nAChR subunit mRNAs are co-expressed with glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67), the marker for GABAergic interneurons. In this anatomical study, we systematically investigated the co-expression of GAD67 with different nAChR subunits by using double in situ hybridization with a digoxigenin-labeled GAD67 probe and (35)S-labeled probes for nAChR subunits (alpha2, alpha3, alpha4, alpha5, alpha6, alpha7, beta2, beta3, and beta4). The results revealed that most GAD67-positive interneurons expressed beta2, and 67 % also expressed alpha7 mRNA. In contrast, mRNA expression of other subunits was limited; only 13 % of GAD67-positive neurons co-expressed alpha4, and less than 10% expressed transcripts for alpha2, alpha3, alpha5, or beta4. Most GAD67/alpha2 co-expression was located in CA1/CA3 stratum oriens, and GAD67/alpha5 co-expression was predominantly detected in CA1/CA3 stratum radiatum/lacunosum moleculare and the dentate gyrus. Expression of alpha6 and beta3 mRNAs was rarely detected in the hippocampus, and mRNAs were not co-expressed with GAD67. These findings suggest that the majority of nicotinic responses in GABAergic interneurons should be mediated by a homomeric alpha7 or heteromeric alpha7*-containing nAChRs. Other possible combinations such as alpha2beta2*, alpha4beta2*, or alpha5beta2* heteromeric nAChRs could contribute to functional nicotinic response in subsets of GABAergic interneurons but overall would have a minor role.