One of the main theories accounting for the underlying pathophysiology of schizophrenia posits alterations in GABAergic neurotransmission. While previous gene expression studies of postmortem brain samples typically report the down-regulation of GABA related genes in schizophrenia, the results are often inconsistent and not uniform across studies. We performed a systematic gene expression analysis of 22 GABA related genes in postmortem superior temporal gyrus (STG) samples of 19 elderly subjects with schizophrenia (mean age: 77) and 14 matched controls from the Icahn school of Medicine at Mount Sinai (MSSM) cohort. To test the validity and robustness of the resulting differentially expressed genes, we then conducted a meta-analysis of the MSSM and an independent dataset from the Stanley Consortium of 14 STG samples of relatively young subjects with schizophrenia (mean age: 44) and 15 matched controls. For the first time, the findings showed the down-regulation of three GABA-receptor subunits of type A, GABRA1, GABRA2 and GABRB3, in the STG samples of subjects with schizophrenia, in both the elderly and the relatively young patients. These findings, as well as previous results, lend weight to the notion of a common upstream pathology that alters GABAergic neurotransmission in schizophrenia. GABRA1, GABRA2 and GABRB3 down-regulation may contribute to the pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of schizophrenia through altered oscillation synchronization in the STG.
- Gene expression
- Superior temporal gyrus