There is abundant evidence that dysfunction of the g-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic signaling system is implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia and mood disorders. Less is known about the alterations in protein expression of GABA receptor subunits in brains of subjects with schizophrenia and mood disorders. We have previously demonstrated reduced expression of GABAB receptor subunits 1 and 2 (GABBR1 and GABBR2) in the lateral cerebella of subjects with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. In the current study, we have expanded these studies to examine the mRNA and protein expression of 12 GABAA subunit proteins (a1, a2, a3, a5, a6, b1, b2, b3, d, e, g2 and g3) in the lateral cerebella from the same set of subjects with schizophrenia (N = 9–15), bipolar disorder (N = 10–15) and major depression (N = 12–15) versus healthy controls (N = 10–15). We found significant group effects for protein levels of the a2-, b1-and e-subunits across treatment groups. We also found a significant group effect for mRNA levels of the a1-subunit across treatment groups. New avenues for treatment, such as the use of neurosteroids to promote GABA modulation, could potentially ameliorate GABAergic dysfunction in these disorders.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Grant support by the National Institutes of Mental Health (grant number 1R01MH086000-01A2) to SHF is gratefully acknowledged. SHF is also supported by the Bernstein Endowed Chair in Adult Psychiatry. Tissue samples from the Stanley Medical Research Institute and assistance with demographic information from Dr Edwin Fuller-Torrey and Dr Maree J Webster to SHF is gratefully acknowledged.
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- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression