Peripheral Blood-Based Gene Expression Studies in Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review
ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a disorder that is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and socio-occupational impairment. The duration of observation and variability in symptoms can make the accurate diagnosis difficult. Identification of biomarkers for schizophrenia (SCZ) can help in early diagnosis, ascertaining the diagnosis, and development of effective treatment strategies. Here we review peripheral blood-based gene expression studies for identification of gene expression biomarkers for SCZ. A literature search was carried out in PubMed and Web of Science databases for blood-based gene expression studies in SCZ. A list of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) was compiled and analyzed for overlap with genetic markers, differences based on drug status of the participants, functional enrichment, and for effect of antipsychotics. This literature survey identified 61 gene expression studies. Seventeen out of these studies were based on expression microarrays. A comparative analysis of the DEGs (n = 227) from microarray studies revealed differences between drug-naive and drug-treated SCZ participants. We found that of the 227 DEGs, 11 genes (ACOT7, AGO2, DISC1, LDB1, RUNX3, SIGIRR, SLC18A1, NRG1, CHRNB2, PRKAB2, and ZNF74) also showed genetic and epigenetic changes associated with SCZ. Functional enrichment analysis of the DEGs revealed dysregulation of proline and 4-hydroxyproline metabolism. Also, arginine and proline metabolism was the most functionally enriched pathway for SCZ in our analysis. Follow-up studies identified effect of antipsychotic treatment on peripheral blood gene expression. Of the 27 genes compiled from the follow-up studies AKT1, DISC1, HP, and EIF2D had no effect on their expression status as a result of antipsychotic treatment. Despite the differences in the nature of the study, ethnicity of the population, and the gene expression analysis method used, we identified several coherent observations. An overlap, though limited, of genetic, epigenetic and gene expression changes supports interplay of genetic and environmental factors in SCZ. The studies validate the use of blood as a surrogate tissue for biomarker analysis. We conclude that well-designed cohort studies across diverse populations, use of high-throughput sequencing technology, and use of artificial intelligence (AI) based computational analysis will significantly improve our understanding and diagnostic capabilities for this complex disorder.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Schizophrenia is a severe, heritable, and refractory psychiatric disorder. Several studies have shown that the disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene is closely associated with schizophrenia by its role in neuronal morphology, synaptic function, brain development, and dopamine homeostasis etc. This study intended to investigate the expression levels of DISC1 gene in schizophrenia patients compared with healthy controls, and the expression variation of DISC1 gene before and after antipsychotic treatment in schizophrenia patients. METHODS:In this study, we compared DISC1 expression levels in blood of 48 healthy controls, and 32 schizophrenia patients before and after 12?weeks of antipsychotic treatment using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis. RESULTS:The expression levels of DISC1 gene in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of schizophrenia patients before antipsychotic treatment were higher than those in healthy controls (P?<?0.01); whereas after antipsychotic treatment, the expression levels of DISC1 gene in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of schizophrenia patients still remained increased (P?<?0.01). CONCLUSIONS:Our study provided further support for the involvement of DISC1 in the development of schizophrenia.
Project description:Antipsychotic medications are inefficient at treating symptoms of schizophrenia (SCZ), and N-methyl d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) agonists are potential therapeutic alternatives. As such, these agonists may act on different pathways and proteins altered in the brains of patients with SCZ than do antipsychotic medications. Here, we investigate the effects of administration of the antipsychotic haloperidol and NMDAR agonist d-serine on function and expression of three proteins that play significant roles in SCZ: nitric oxide synthase 1 adaptor protein (NOS1AP), dopamine D2 (D2) receptor, and disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1). We administered haloperidol or d-serine to male and female Sprague Dawley rats via intraperitoneal injection for 12?days and subsequently examined cortical expression of NOS1AP, D2 receptor, and DISC1. We found sex-specific effects of haloperidol and d-serine treatment on the expression of these proteins. Haloperidol significantly reduced expression of D2 receptor in male, but not female, rats. Conversely, d-serine reduced expression of NOS1AP in male rats and did not affect D2 receptor expression. d-serine treatment also reduced expression of DISC1 in male rats and increased DISC1 expression in female rats. As NOS1AP is overexpressed in the cortex of patients with SCZ and negatively regulates NMDAR signaling, we subsequently examined whether treatment with antipsychotics or NMDAR agonists can reverse the detrimental effects of NOS1AP overexpression in vitro as previously reported by our group. NOS1AP overexpression promotes reduced dendrite branching in vitro, and as such, we treated cortical neurons overexpressing NOS1AP with different antipsychotics (haloperidol, clozapine, fluphenazine) or d-serine for 24?h and determined the effects of these drugs on NOS1AP expression and dendrite branching. While antipsychotics did not affect NOS1AP protein expression or dendrite branching in vitro, d-serine reduced NOS1AP expression and rescued NOS1AP-mediated reductions in dendrite branching. Taken together, our data suggest that d-serine influences the function and expression of NOS1AP, D2 receptor, and DISC1 in a sex-specific manner and reverses the effects of NOS1AP overexpression on dendrite morphology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a heritable, refractory, and devastating psychiatric disorder. Previous studies have shown that the variants of CUB and sushi multiple domains 1 (CSMD1) demonstrate significant genome-wide association with SCZ. However, few studies have been conducted on the effect of antipsychotics on the expression levels of CSMD1. This study explored whether a change occurs in the expression of the CSMD1 gene before and after antipsychotic treatment in SCZ patients. METHODS:The study population comprised Han Chinese patients from eastern China, including 32 SCZ patients and 48 healthy controls. The expression of CSMD1 before and after treatment in the SCZ group and between the two groups was analyzed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). RESULTS:The expression levels of the CSMD1 gene in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of SCZ patients were lower than those in the healthy controls. The expression levels of the CSMD1 gene in the PBMCs of the SCZ patients after antipsychotic treatment were higher than those in the baseline SCZ patients (all P?<? 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed that the expression levels of CSMD1 are correlated with the development and treatment of SCZ, providing further evidence for the involvement of CSMD1 in SCZ.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Reelin (RELN) gene encodes the protein reelin, which is a large extracellular matrix glycoprotein that plays a key role in brain development. Additionally, this protein may be involved in memory formation, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity, which have been shown to be disrupted in schizophrenia (SCZ). A decreasing trend in the expression of RELN mRNA in the brain and peripheral blood of SCZ patients has been observed. There is a need to determine whether changes in RELN mRNA expression in SCZ patients are the result of long-term antipsychotic treatment rather than the etiological characteristics of schizophrenia. The expression levels of RELN mRNA in the peripheral blood of 48 healthy controls and 30 SCZ patients before and after 12-weeks of treatment were measured using quantitative real-time PCR. RESULTS:The expression levels of RELN mRNA in the SCZ group were significantly lower than that of healthy controls; however, after 12-weeks of antipsychotic treatment, RELN mRNA levels were significantly increased in the SCZ group. CONCLUSION:The up-regulation of RELN mRNA expression was current in SCZ patients after antipsychotic treatment, suggesting that the changes in RELN mRNA expression were related to the effect of the antipsychotic treatment.
Project description:Background: Localized abnormalities in the synchrony of spontaneous neuronal activity, measured with regional homogeneity (ReHo), has been consistently reported in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ) and their unaffected siblings. To date, little is known about the genetic influences affecting the spontaneous neuronal activity in SCZ. DISC1, a strong susceptible gene for SCZ, has been implicated in neuronal excitability and synaptic function possibly associated with regional spontaneous neuronal activity. This study aimed to examine the effects of DISC1 variations on the regional spontaneous neuronal activity in SCZ. Methods: Resting-state fMRI data were obtained from 28 SCZ patients and 21 healthy controls (HC) for ReHo analysis. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of DISC1 gene were genotyped using the PCR and direct sequencing. Results: Significant diagnosis × genotype interactions were noted for three SNPs (rs821616, rs821617, and rs2738880). For rs821617, the interactions were localized to the precuneus, basal ganglia and pre-/post-central regions. Significant interactive effects were identified at the temporal and post-central gyri for rs821616 (Ser704Cys) and the inferior temporal gyrus for rs2738880. Furthermore, post-hoc analysis revealed that the DISC1 variations on these SNPs exerted different influences on ReHo between SCZ patients and HC. Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first study to unpick the influence of DISC1 variations on spontaneous neuronal activity in SCZ; Given the emerging evidence that ReHo is a stable inheritable phenotype for schizophrenia, our findings suggest the DISC1 variations are possibly an inheritable source for the altered ReHo in this disorder.
Project description:Loss of glutamatergic synapses is thought to be a key cellular pathology associated with neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia (SCZ) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Genetic and cellular studies of SCZ and MDD using in vivo and in vitro systems have supported a key role for dysfunction of excitatory synapses in the pathophysiology of these disorders. Recent clinical studies have demonstrated that the estrogen, 17?-estradiol can ameliorate many of the symptoms experienced by patients. Yet, to date, our understanding of how 17?-estradiol exerted these beneficial effects is limited. In this study, we have tested the hypothesis that 17?-estradiol can restore dendritic spine number in a cellular model that recapitulates the loss of synapses associated with SCZ and MDD. Ectopic expression of wildtype, mutant or shRNA-mediated knockdown of Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) reduced dendritic spine density in primary cortical neurons. Acute or chronic treatment with 17?-estradiol increased spine density to control levels in neurons with altered DISC1 levels. In addition, 17?-estradiol reduced the extent to which ectopic wildtype and mutant DISC1 aggregated. Furthermore, 17?-estradiol also caused the enrichment of synaptic proteins at synapses and increased the number of dendritic spines containing PSD-95 or that overlapped with the pre-synaptic marker bassoon. Taken together, our data indicates that estrogens can restore lost excitatory synapses caused by altered DISC1 expression, potentially through the trafficking of DISC1 and its interacting partners. These data highlight the possibility that estrogens exert their beneficial effects in SCZ and MDD in part by modulating dendritic spine number.
Project description:Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by both positive and negative symptoms, including cognitive dysfunction, decline in motivation, delusion and hallucinations. Antipsychotic agents are currently the standard of care treatment for SCZ. However, only about one-third of SCZ patients respond to antipsychotic medications. In the current study, we have performed a meta-analysis of publicly available whole-genome expression datasets on Brodmann area 46 of the brain dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in order to prioritize potential pathways underlying SCZ pathology. Moreover, we have evaluated whether the differentially expressed genes in SCZ belong to specific subsets of cell types. Finally, a cross-tissue comparison at both the gene and functional level was performed by analyzing the transcriptomic pattern of peripheral blood mononuclear cells of SCZ patients. Our study identified a robust disease-specific set of dysfunctional biological pathways characterizing SCZ patients that could in the future be exploited as potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by both positive symptoms (i.e., psychosis) and negative symptoms (such as apathy, anhedonia, and poverty of speech). Epidemiological data show a high likelihood of early onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in SCZ patients. However, the molecular processes that could explain the epidemiological association between SCZ and T2DM have not yet been characterized. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to identify underlying common molecular pathogenetic processes and pathways between SCZ and T2DM. To this aim, we analyzed peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) transcriptomic data from SCZ and T2DM patients, and we detected 28 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) commonly modulated between SCZ and T2DM. Inflammatory-associated processes and membrane trafficking pathways as common biological processes were found to be in common between SCZ and T2DM. Analysis of the putative transcription factors involved in the regulation of the DEGs revealed that STAT1 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 1), RELA (v-rel reticuloendotheliosis viral oncogene homolog A (avian)), NFKB1 (Nuclear Factor Kappa B Subunit 1), and ERG (ETS-related gene) are involved in the expression of common DEGs in SCZ and T2DM. In conclusion, we provide core molecular signatures and pathways that are shared between SCZ and T2DM, which may contribute to the epidemiological association between them.
Project description:Few studies have addressed likely gene × gene (ie, epistatic) interactions in mediating risk for schizophrenia. Using a preclinical genetic approach, we investigated whether simultaneous disruption of the risk factors Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) and Disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) would produce a disease-relevant phenotypic profile different from that observed following disruption to either gene alone. NRG1 heterozygotes exhibited hyperactivity and disruption to prepulse inhibition, both reversed by antipsychotic treatment, and accompanied by reduced striatal dopamine D2 receptor protein expression, impaired social cognition, and altered glutamatergic synaptic protein expression in selected brain areas. Single gene DISC1 mutants demonstrated a disruption in social cognition and nest-building, altered brain 5-hydroxytryptamine levels and hippocampal ErbB4 expression, and decreased cortical expression of the schizophrenia-associated microRNA miR-29b. Co-disruption of DISC1 and NRG1, indicative of epistasis, evoked an impairment in sociability and enhanced self-grooming, accompanied by changes in hypothalamic oxytocin/vasopressin gene expression. The findings indicate specific behavioral correlates and underlying cellular pathways downstream of main effects of DNA variation in the schizophrenia-associated genes NRG1 and DISC1.
Project description:Dopaminergic system dysfunction is involved in schizophrenia (SCZ) pathogenesis and can mediate SCZ-related motor disorders. Recent studies have gradually revealed that SCZ susceptibility and the associated motor symptoms can be mediated by genetic factors, including dopaminergic genes. More importantly, polymorphisms in these genes are associated with both antipsychotic drug sensitivity and adverse effects. The study of genetic polymorphisms in the dopaminergic system may help to optimize individualized drug strategies for SCZ patients. This review summarizes the current progress about the involvement of the dopamine system in SCZ-associated motor disorders and the motor-related adverse effects after antipsychotic treatment, with a special focus on polymorphisms in dopaminergic genes. We hypothesize that the genetic profile of the dopaminergic system mediates both SCZ-associated motor deficits associated and antipsychotic drug-related adverse effects. The study of dopaminergic gene polymorphisms may help to predict drug efficacy and decrease adverse effects, thereby optimizing treatment strategies.