Epub – Biological Psychiatry
Altered parvalbumin basket cell terminals in the cortical visuospatial working memory network in schizophrenia

February 19, 2021

Fish KN, Rocco BR, DeDionisio AM, Dienel SJ, Sweet RA, Lewis DA

Background: Visuospatial working memory (vsWM), which is commonly impaired in schizophrenia, involves information processing across the primary visual cortex, association visual cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Within these regions, vsWM requires inhibition from parvalbumin-expressing basket cells (PVBCs). Here, we analyzed indices of PVBC axon terminals across regions of the vsWM network in schizophrenia.
Methods: For 20 matched pairs of subjects with schizophrenia and unaffected comparison subjects, tissue sections from the primary visual cortex, association visual cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and DLPFC were immunolabeled for PV, the 65- and 67-kDa isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65 and GAD67) that synthesize GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), and the vesicular GABA transporter. The density of PVBC terminals and of protein levels per terminal was quantified in layer 3 of each cortical region using fluorescence confocal microscopy.
Results: In comparison subjects, all measures, except for GAD65 levels, exhibited a caudal-to-rostral decline across the vsWM network. In subjects with schizophrenia, the density of detectable PVBC terminals was significantly lower in all regions except the DLPFC, whereas PVBC terminal levels of PV, GAD67, and GAD65 proteins were lower in all regions. A composite measure of inhibitory strength was lower in subjects with schizophrenia, although the magnitude of the diagnosis effect was greater in the primary visual, association visual, and posterior parietal cortices than in the DLPFC.
Conclusions: In schizophrenia, alterations in PVBC terminals across the vsWM network suggest the presence of a shared substrate for cortical dysfunction during vsWM tasks. However, regional differences in the magnitude of the disease effect on an index of PVBC inhibitory strength suggest region-specific alterations in information processing during vsWM tasks.

Fish KN, Rocco BR, DeDionisio AM, Dienel SJ, Sweet RA, Lewis DA. Altered Parvalbumin Basket Cell Terminals in the Cortical Visuospatial Working Memory Network in Schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Feb 19:S0006-3223(21)00113-X. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.02.009. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 33892915.


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