Transcriptome alterations of prefrontal cortical parvalbumin neurons in schizophrenia

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Abstract

Schizophrenia (SZ) is associated with dysfunction of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). This dysfunction is manifest as cognitive deficits that appear to arise from disturbances in gamma frequency oscillations. These oscillations are generated in DLPFC layer 3 (L3) via reciprocal connections between pyramidal cells (PCs) and parvalbumin (PV)-containing interneurons. The density of cortical PV neurons is not altered in SZ, but expression levels of several transcripts involved in PV cell function, including PV, are lower in the disease. However, the transcriptome of PV cells has not been comprehensively assessed in a large cohort of subjects with SZ. In this study, we combined an immunohistochemical approach, laser microdissection, and microarray profiling to analyze the transcriptome of DLPFC L3 PV cells in 36 matched pairs of SZ and unaffected comparison subjects. Over 800 transcripts in PV neurons were identified as differentially expressed in SZ subjects; most of these alterations have not previously been reported. The altered transcripts were enriched for pathways involved in mitochondrial function and tight junction signaling. Comparison with the transcriptome of L3 PCs from the same subjects revealed both shared and distinct disease-related effects on gene expression between cell types. Furthermore, network structures of gene pathways differed across cell types and subject groups. These findings provide new insights into cell typespecific molecular alterations in SZ which may point toward novel strategies for identifying therapeutic targets.

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