Epub – Biological Psychiatry
Laminar-specific alterations in calbindin-positive boutons in the prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia

December 8, 2022

Fish KN, Rocco BR, Wilson JD, Lewis DA

Background: Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are associated with altered GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). GABA neurotransmission requires GABA synthesis by 2 isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD65 and GAD67) and packaging by the vesicular GABA transporter (vGAT). Current postmortem findings suggest that GAD67 messenger RNA is lower in a subset of the calbindin-expressing (CB+) class of GABA neurons in schizophrenia. Hence, we assessed if CB+ GABA neuron boutons are affected in schizophrenia.
Methods: For 20 matched pairs of subjects with schizophrenia and unaffected comparison subjects, PFC tissue sections were immunolabeled for vGAT, CB, GAD67, and GAD65. The density of CB+ GABA boutons and levels of the 4 proteins per bouton were quantified.
Results: Some CB+ GABA boutons contained both GAD65 and GAD67 (GAD65+/GAD67+), whereas others contained only GAD65 (GAD65+) or GAD67 (GAD67+). In schizophrenia, vGAT+/CB+/GAD65+/GAD67+ bouton density was not altered, vGAT+/CB+/GAD65+ bouton density was 86% higher in layers 2/superficial 3 (L2/3s), and vGAT+/CB+/GAD67+ bouton density was 36% lower in L5-6. Bouton GAD levels were differentially altered across bouton types and layers. In schizophrenia, the sum of GAD65 and GAD67 levels in vGAT+/CB+/GAD65+/GAD67+ boutons was 36% lower in L6, GAD65 levels were 51% higher in vGAT+/CB+/GAD65+ boutons in L2, and GAD67 levels in vGAT+/CB+/GAD67+ boutons were 30% to 46% lower in L2/3s-6.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that schizophrenia-associated alterations in the strength of inhibition from CB+ GABA neurons in the PFC differ across cortical layers and bouton classes, suggesting complex contributions to PFC dysfunction and cognitive impairments in schizophrenia.

Fish KN, Rocco BR, Wilson JD, Lewis DA. Laminar-specific alterations in calbindin-positive boutons in the prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry. 2022 Dec 8:S0006-3223(22)01809-1. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.12.004. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed PMID: 36868891.


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