1Am J Psychiatry 2002 Jan 159: 148-9
PMID11772708
TitleMECP2 mutation in a boy with language disorder and schizophrenia.
Abstract-1
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
2Am. J. Med. Genet. B Neuropsychiatr. Genet. 2004 Jul 128B: 50-3
PMID15211631
TitleMECP2 structural and 3'-UTR variants in schizophrenia, autism and other psychiatric diseases: a possible association with autism.
AbstractMutations in the gene coding for methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) cause Rett syndrome (RTT) and have also been reported in a number of X-linked mental retardation syndromes. Furthermore, putative mutations recently have been described in a few autistic patients and a boy with language disorder and schizophrenia. In this study, DNA samples from individuals with schizophrenia and other psychiatric diseases were scanned in order to explore whether the phenotypic spectrum of mutations in the MECP2 gene can extend beyond the traditional diagnoses of RTT in females and severe neonatal encephalopathy in males. The coding regions, adjacent splicing junctions, and highly conserved segments of the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) were examined in 214 patients, including 106 with schizophrenia, 24 with autism, and 84 patients with other psychiatric diseases by detection of virtually all mutations-single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) (DOVAM-S). To our knowledge, this is the first analysis of variants in conserved regions of the 3'-UTR of this gene. A total of 5.2 kb per haploid gene was analyzed (1.5 Mb for 214 patients). A higher frequency of missense and 3'-UTR variants was found in autism. One missense and two 3'-UTR variants were found in 24 patients with autism versus one patient with a missense change in 144 ethnically similar individuals without autism (P = 0.009). These mutations suggest that a possible association between MECP2 mutations and autism may warrant further study.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
3Biochemistry Mosc. 2007 May 72: 578-82
PMID17573714
TitleMicroRNA in schizophrenia: genetic and expression analysis of miR-130b (22q11).
AbstractMicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small regulatory RNAs that control a level of expression of protein encoding genes. Their role in brain pathologies is unknown. We made a first attempt to carry out a genetic study coupled with gene expression analysis of microRNA in human neuropsychiatric pathology. Presumably, at least one third of known miRNA genes are expressed in the brain. Mutations disrupting MECP2 protein lead to abnormal development of the brain and resulting behavior. MiR-130b expressed in the brain and potentially targeting MECP2 is located in the susceptibility locus for schizophrenia (22q11). We performed a comparative analysis of the expression of miR-130b in 24 brain neocortex samples from schizophrenic and normal individuals. The stability and effective detection of mature microRNA in postmortem tissues using Real-time PCR have been shown. Screening for mutations has identified a population polymorphism in the 5 -upstream miR-130b gene region containing DNA elements for putative transcription factors. Genetic association analysis of 300 schizophrenia and 316 normal control individuals revealed no statistically significant association of any of the miR-130b allelic variants with schizophrenia. The data demonstrated feasibility and perspective of convergent genetic and expression analysis of human microRNA genes in testing their role in human diseases.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
4Mol. Pharmacol. 2007 Mar 71: 644-53
PMID17065238
TitleDNA methyltransferase inhibitors coordinately induce expression of the human reelin and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 genes.
AbstractReelin and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67) mRNAs and protein levels are substantially reduced in postmortem brains of patients with schizophrenia. Increasing evidence suggests that the observed down-regulation of reelin and GAD67 gene expression may be caused by dysfunction of the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms operative in cortical GABAergic interneurons. To explore whether human reelin and GAD67 mRNAs are coordinately regulated through DNA methylation-dependent mechanisms, we studied the effects of DNA methyltransferase inhibitors on reelin and GAD67 expression in NT-2 neuronal precursor cells. Competitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction with internal standards was used to quantitate mRNA levels. The data showed that reelin and GAD67 mRNAs are induced in the same dose- and time-dependent manners. We further demonstrated that the activation of these two genes correlated with a reduction in DNA methyl-transferase activity and DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) protein levels. Time course Western blot analysis showed that DNMT1 protein down-regulation occurs temporally before the reelin and GAD67 mRNA increase. In addition, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that the activation of the reelin gene correlates with the dissociation of DNMT1 and methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) from the promoter, and an increased acetylation of histones H3 in the region. Together, our data strongly imply that human reelin and GAD67 genes are coordinately regulated through epigenetic mechanisms that include the action of DNMT1. Our study also suggests that negative regulation of the reelin gene involves methylation-dependent recruitment of DNMT1, MECP2, and certain histone deacetylases, which most likely reduce the activity of the promoter by shifting the surrounding chromatin into a more compact state.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
5Biochemistry Mosc. 2007 May 72: 578-82
PMID17573714
TitleMicroRNA in schizophrenia: genetic and expression analysis of miR-130b (22q11).
AbstractMicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small regulatory RNAs that control a level of expression of protein encoding genes. Their role in brain pathologies is unknown. We made a first attempt to carry out a genetic study coupled with gene expression analysis of microRNA in human neuropsychiatric pathology. Presumably, at least one third of known miRNA genes are expressed in the brain. Mutations disrupting MECP2 protein lead to abnormal development of the brain and resulting behavior. MiR-130b expressed in the brain and potentially targeting MECP2 is located in the susceptibility locus for schizophrenia (22q11). We performed a comparative analysis of the expression of miR-130b in 24 brain neocortex samples from schizophrenic and normal individuals. The stability and effective detection of mature microRNA in postmortem tissues using Real-time PCR have been shown. Screening for mutations has identified a population polymorphism in the 5 -upstream miR-130b gene region containing DNA elements for putative transcription factors. Genetic association analysis of 300 schizophrenia and 316 normal control individuals revealed no statistically significant association of any of the miR-130b allelic variants with schizophrenia. The data demonstrated feasibility and perspective of convergent genetic and expression analysis of human microRNA genes in testing their role in human diseases.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
6Mol. Pharmacol. 2009 Feb 75: 342-54
PMID19029285
TitleThe reelin and GAD67 promoters are activated by epigenetic drugs that facilitate the disruption of local repressor complexes.
AbstractThe epigenetic down-regulation of genes is emerging as a possible underlying mechanism of the GABAergic neuron dysfunction in schizophrenia. For example, evidence has been presented to show that the promoters associated with reelin and GAD67 are down-regulated as a consequence of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT)-mediated hypermethylation. Using neuronal progenitor cells to study this regulation, we have previously demonstrated that DNMT inhibitors coordinately increase reelin and GAD67 mRNAs. Here, we report that another group of epigenetic drugs, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, activate these two genes with dose and time dependence comparable with that of DNMT inhibitors. In parallel, both groups of drugs decrease DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B protein levels and reduce DNMT enzyme activity. Furthermore, induction of the reelin and GAD67 mRNAs is accompanied by the dissociation of repressor complexes containing all three DNMTs, MECP2, and HDAC1 from the corresponding promoters and by increased local histone acetylation. Our data imply that drug-induced promoter demethylation is relevant for maximal activation of reelin and GAD67 transcription. The results suggest that HDAC and DNMT inhibitors activate reelin and GAD67 expression through similar mechanisms. Both classes of drugs attenuate, directly or indirectly, the enzymatic and transcriptional repressor activities of DNMTs and HDACs. These data provide a mechanistic rationale for the use of epigenetic drugs, individually or in combination, as a potential novel therapeutic strategy to alleviate deficits associated with schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
7Nature 2010 Nov 468: 263-9
PMID21068835
TitleDysfunction in GABA signalling mediates autism-like stereotypies and Rett syndrome phenotypes.
AbstractMutations in the X-linked MECP2 gene, which encodes the transcriptional regulator methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2), cause Rett syndrome and several neurodevelopmental disorders including cognitive disorders, autism, juvenile-onset schizophrenia and encephalopathy with early lethality. Rett syndrome is characterized by apparently normal early development followed by regression, motor abnormalities, seizures and features of autism, especially stereotyped behaviours. The mechanisms mediating these features are poorly understood. Here we show that mice lacking MECP2 from GABA (?-aminobutyric acid)-releasing neurons recapitulate numerous Rett syndrome and autistic features, including repetitive behaviours. Loss of MECP2 from a subset of forebrain GABAergic neurons also recapitulates many features of Rett syndrome. MECP2-deficient GABAergic neurons show reduced inhibitory quantal size, consistent with a presynaptic reduction in glutamic acid decarboxylase 1 (Gad1) and glutamic acid decarboxylase 2 (Gad2) levels, and GABA immunoreactivity. These data demonstrate that MECP2 is critical for normal function of GABA-releasing neurons and that subtle dysfunction of GABAergic neurons contributes to numerous neuropsychiatric phenotypes.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
8Hum. Mol. Genet. 2010 Jul 19: 2841-57
PMID20457675
TitleSMARCA2 and other genome-wide supported schizophrenia-associated genes: regulation by REST/NRSF, network organization and primate-specific evolution.
AbstractThe SMARCA2 gene, which encodes BRM in the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, was recently identified as being associated with schizophrenia (SZ) in a genome-wide approach. Polymorphisms in SMARCA2, associated with the disease, produce changes in the expression of the gene and/or in the encoded amino acid sequence. We show here that an SWI/SNF-centered network including the Smarca2 gene is modified by the down-regulation of REST/NRSF in a mouse neuronal cell line. REST/NRSF down-regulation also modifies the levels of Smarce1, Smarcd3 and SWI/SNF interactors (Hdac1, RcoR1 and MECP2). Smarca2 down-regulation generates an abnormal dendritic spine morphology that is an intermediate phenotype of SZ. We further found that 8 (CSF2RA, HIST1H2BJ, NOTCH4, NRGN, SHOX, SMARCA2, TCF4 and ZNF804A) out of 10 genome-wide supported SZ-associated genes are part of an interacting network (including SMARCA2), 5 members of which encode transcription regulators. The expression of 3 (TCF4, SMARCA2 and CSF2RA) of the 10 genome-wide supported SZ-associated genes is modified when the REST/NRSF-SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex is experimentally manipulated in mouse cell lines and in transgenic mouse models. The REST/NRSF-SWI/SNF deregulation also results in the differential expression of genes that are clustered in chromosomes suggesting the induction of genome-wide epigenetic changes. Finally, we found that SMARCA2 interactors and the genome-wide supported SZ-associated genes are considerably enriched in genes displaying positive selection in primates and in the human lineage which suggests the occurrence of novel protein interactions in primates. Altogether, these data identify the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex as a key component of the genetic architecture of SZ.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
9Mol Autism 2011 -1 2: 9
PMID21615902
TitleGene expression analysis in lymphoblasts derived from patients with autism spectrum disorder.
AbstractThe autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex neurodevelopmental disorders that result in severe and pervasive impairment in the development of reciprocal social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication skills. In addition, individuals with ASD have stereotypical behavior, interests and activities. Rare mutations of some genes, such as neuroligin (NLGN) 3/4, neurexin (NRXN) 1, SHANK3, MECP2 and NHE9, have been reported to be associated with ASD. In the present study, we investigated whether alterations in mRNA expression levels of these genes could be found in lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from patients with ASD.
We measured mRNA expression levels of NLGN3/4, NRXN1, SHANK3, MECP2, NHE9 and AKT1 in lymphoblastoid cells from 35 patients with ASD and 35 healthy controls, as well as from 45 patients with schizophrenia and 45 healthy controls, using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays.
The mRNA expression levels of NLGN3 and SHANK3 normalized by ?-actin or TBP were significantly decreased in the individuals with ASD compared to controls, whereas no difference was found in the mRNA expression level of MECP2, NHE9 or AKT1. However, normalized NLGN3 and SHANK3 gene expression levels were not altered in patients with schizophrenia, and expression levels of NLGN4 and NRXN1 mRNA were not quantitatively measurable in lymphoblastoid cells.
Our results provide evidence that the NLGN3 and SHANK3 genes may be differentially expressed in lymphoblastoid cell lines from individuals with ASD compared to those from controls. These findings suggest the possibility that decreased mRNA expression levels of these genes might be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD in a substantial population of ASD patients.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
10Mol. Psychiatry 2011 Aug 16: 867-80
PMID20479760
TitleSystematic resequencing of X-chromosome synaptic genes in autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
AbstractAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are two common neurodevelopmental syndromes that result from the combined effects of environmental and genetic factors. We set out to test the hypothesis that rare variants in many different genes, including de novo variants, could predispose to these conditions in a fraction of cases. In addition, for both disorders, males are either more significantly or more severely affected than females, which may be explained in part by X-linked genetic factors. Therefore, we directly sequenced 111 X-linked synaptic genes in individuals with ASD (n = 142; 122 males and 20 females) or SCZ (n = 143; 95 males and 48 females). We identified >200 non-synonymous variants, with an excess of rare damaging variants, which suggest the presence of disease-causing mutations. Truncating mutations in genes encoding the calcium-related protein IL1RAPL1 (already described in Piton et al. Hum Mol Genet 2008) and the monoamine degradation enzyme monoamine oxidase B were found in ASD and SCZ, respectively. Moreover, several promising non-synonymous rare variants were identified in genes encoding proteins involved in regulation of neurite outgrowth and other various synaptic functions (MECP2, TM4SF2/TSPAN7, PPP1R3F, PSMD10, MCF2, SLITRK2, GPRASP2, and OPHN1).
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
11Neuropsychopharmacology 2012 Mar 37: 929-38
PMID22089319
TitlePharmacological activation of group-II metabotropic glutamate receptors corrects a schizophrenia-like phenotype induced by prenatal stress in mice.
AbstractPrenatal exposure to restraint stress causes long-lasting changes in neuroplasticity that likely reflect pathological modifications triggered by early-life stress. We found that the offspring of dams exposed to repeated episodes of restraint stress during pregnancy (here named 'prenatal restraint stress mice' or 'PRS mice') developed a schizophrenia-like phenotype, characterized by a decreased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and glutamic acid decarboxylase 67, an increased expression of type-1 DNA methyl transferase (DNMT1) in the frontal cortex, and a deficit in social interaction, locomotor activity, and prepulse inhibition. PRS mice also showed a marked decrease in metabotropic glutamate 2 (mGlu2) and mGlu3 receptor mRNA and protein levels in the frontal cortex, which was manifested at birth and persisted in adult life. This decrease was associated with an increased binding of DNMT1 to CpG-rich regions of mGlu2 and mGlu3 receptor promoters and an increased binding of MECP2 to the mGlu2 receptor promoter. Systemic treatment with the selective mGlu2/3 receptor agonist LY379268 (0.5?mg/kg, i.p., twice daily for 5 days), corrected all the biochemical and behavioral abnormalities shown in PRS mice. Our data show for the first time that PRS induces a schizophrenia-like phenotype in mice, and suggest that epigenetic changes in mGlu2 and mGlu3 receptors lie at the core of the pathological programming induced by early-life stress.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
12Neuropharmacology 2013 Dec 75: 233-45
PMID23958448
TitleActive DNA demethylation in post-mitotic neurons: a reason for optimism.
AbstractOver the last several years proteins involved in base excision repair (BER) have been implicated in active DNA demethylation. We review the literature supporting BER as a means of active DNA demethylation, and explain how the various components function and cooperate to remove the potentially most enduring means of epigenetic gene regulation. Recent evidence indicates that the same pathways implicated during periods of widespread DNA demethylation, such as the erasure of methyl marks in the paternal pronucleus soon after fertilization, are operational in post-mitotic neurons. Neuronal functional identities, defined here as the result of a combination of neuronal subtype, location, and synaptic connections are largely maintained through DNA methylation. Chronic mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, may be the result of both altered neurotransmitter levels and neurons that have assumed dysfunctional neuronal identities. A limitation of most current psychopharmacological agents is their focus on the former, while not addressing the more profound latter pathophysiological process. Previously, it was believed that active DNA demethylation in post-mitotic neurons was rare if not impossible. If this were the case, then reversing the factors that maintain neuronal identity, would be highly unlikely. The emergence of an active DNA demethylation pathway in the brain is a reason for great optimism in psychiatry as it provides a means by which previously pathological neurons may be reprogrammed to serve a more favorable role. Agents targeting epigenetic processes have shown much promise in this regard, and may lead to substantial gains over traditional pharmacological approaches.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
13Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2013 Jun 110: E2400-9
PMID23729812
TitleMultiple risk pathways for schizophrenia converge in serine racemase knockout mice, a mouse model of NMDA receptor hypofunction.
Abstractschizophrenia is characterized by reduced hippocampal volume, decreased dendritic spine density, altered neuroplasticity signaling pathways, and cognitive deficits associated with impaired hippocampal function. We sought to determine whether this diverse pathology could be linked to NMDA receptor (NMDAR) hypofunction, and thus used the serine racemase-null mutant mouse (SR(-/-)), which has less than 10% of normal brain D-serine, an NMDAR coagonist. We found that D-serine was necessary for the maintenance of long-term potentiation in the adult hippocampal dentate gyrus and for full NMDAR activity on granule cells. SR(-/-) mice had reduced dendritic spines and hippocampal volume. These morphological changes were paralleled by diminished BDNF/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and impaired performance on a trace-conditioning memory task. Chronic D-serine treatment normalized the electrophysiological, neurochemical, and cognitive deficits in SR(-/-) mice. These results demonstrate that NMDAR hypofunction can reproduce the numerous hippocampal deficits associated with schizophrenia, which can be reversed by chronic peripheral D-serine treatment.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
14PLoS ONE 2013 -1 8: e65069
PMID23750231
TitleMeCP2 regulates the synaptic expression of a Dysbindin-BLOC-1 network component in mouse brain and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons.
AbstractClinical, epidemiological, and genetic evidence suggest overlapping pathogenic mechanisms between autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and schizophrenia. We tested this hypothesis by asking if mutations in the ASD gene MECP2 which cause Rett syndrome affect the expression of genes encoding the schizophrenia risk factor dysbindin, a subunit of the biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex-1 (BLOC-1), and associated interacting proteins. We measured mRNA and protein levels of key components of a dysbindin interaction network by, quantitative real time PCR and quantitative immunohistochemistry in hippocampal samples of wild-type and MECP2 mutant mice. In addition, we confirmed results by performing immunohistochemistry of normal human hippocampus and quantitative qRT-PCR of human inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-derived human neurons from Rett syndrome patients. We defined the distribution of the BLOC-1 subunit pallidin in human and mouse hippocampus and contrasted this distribution with that of symptomatic MECP2 mutant mice. Neurons from mutant mice and Rett syndrome patients displayed selectively reduced levels of pallidin transcript. Pallidin immunoreactivity decreased in the hippocampus of symptomatic MECP2 mutant mice, a feature most prominent at asymmetric synapses as determined by immunoelectron microcopy. Pallidin immunoreactivity decreased concomitantly with reduced BDNF content in the hippocampus of MECP2 mice. Similarly, BDNF content was reduced in the hippocampus of BLOC-1 deficient mice suggesting that genetic defects in BLOC-1 are upstream of the BDNF phenotype in MECP2 deficient mice. Our results demonstrate that the ASD-related gene MECP2 regulates the expression of components belonging to the dysbindin interactome and these molecular differences may contribute to synaptic phenotypes that characterize MECP2 deficiencies and ASD.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
15Neuropharmacology 2013 May 68: 184-94
PMID22564440
TitleEpigenetic modifications of GABAergic interneurons are associated with the schizophrenia-like phenotype induced by prenatal stress in mice.
AbstractHuman studies suggest that a variety of prenatal stressors are related to high risk for cognitive and behavioral abnormalities associated with psychiatric illness (Markham and Koenig, 2011). Recently, a downregulation in the expression of GABAergic genes (i.e., glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 and reelin) associated with DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) overexpression in GABAergic neurons has been regarded as a characteristic phenotypic component of the neuropathology of psychotic disorders (Guidotti et al., 2011). Here, we characterized mice exposed to prenatal restraint stress (PRS) in order to study neurochemical and behavioral abnormalities related to development of schizophrenia in the adult. Offspring born from non-stressed mothers (control mice) showed high levels of DNMT1 and 3a mRNA expression in the frontal cortex at birth, but these levels progressively decreased at post-natal days (PND) 7, 14, and 60. Offspring born from stressed mothers (PRS mice) showed increased levels of DNMTs compared to controls at all time-points studied including at birth and at PND 60. Using GAD67-GFP transgenic mice, we established that, in both control and PRS mice, high levels of DNMT1 and 3a were preferentially expressed in GABAergic neurons of frontal cortex and hippocampus. Importantly, the overexpression of DNMT in GABAergic neurons was associated with a decrease in reelin and GAD67 expression in PRS mice in early and adult life. PRS mice also showed an increased binding of DNMT1 and MECP2, and an increase in 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in specific CpG-rich regions of the reelin and GAD67 promoters. Thus, the epigenetic changes in PRS mice are similar to changes observed in the post-mortem brains of psychiatric patients. Behaviorally, adult PRS mice showed hyperactivity and deficits in social interaction, prepulse inhibition, and fear conditioning that were corrected by administration of valproic acid (a histone deacetylase inhibitor) or clozapine (an atypical antipsychotic with DNA-demethylation activity). Taken together, these data show that prenatal stress in mice induces abnormalities in the DNA methylation network and in behaviors indicative of a schizophrenia-like phenotype. Thus, PRS mice may be a valid model for the investigation of new drugs for schizophrenia treatment targeting DNA methylation. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Neurodevelopmental Disorders'.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
16Schizophr Bull 2014 Jul 40: 777-86
PMID24043878
TitleCommon variants on Xq28 conferring risk of schizophrenia in Han Chinese.
Abstractschizophrenia is a highly heritable, severe psychiatric disorder affecting approximately 1% of the world population. A substantial portion of heritability is still unexplained and the pathophysiology of schizophrenia remains to be elucidated. To identify more schizophrenia susceptibility loci, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 498 patients with schizophrenia and 2025 controls from the Han Chinese population, and a follow-up study on 1027 cases and 1005 controls. In the follow-up study, we included 384 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which were selected from the top hits in our GWAS (130 SNPs) and from previously implicated loci for schizophrenia based on the SZGene database, NHGRI GWAS Catalog, copy number variation studies, GWAS meta-analysis results from the international Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and candidate genes from plausible biological pathways (254 SNPs). Within the chromosomal region Xq28, SNP rs2269372 in RENBP achieved genome-wide significance with a combined P value of 3.98 × 10(-8) (OR of allele A = 1.31). SNPs with suggestive P values were identified within 2 genes that have been previously implicated in schizophrenia, MECP2 (rs2734647, P combined = 8.78 × 10(-7), OR = 1.28; rs2239464, P combined = 6.71 × 10(-6), OR = 1.26) and ARHGAP4 (rs2269368, P combined = 4.74 × 10(-7), OR = 1.25). In addition, the patient sample in our follow-up study showed a significantly greater burden for pre-defined risk alleles based on the SNPs selected than the controls. This indicates the existence of schizophrenia susceptibility loci among the SNPs we selected. This also further supports multigenic inheritance in schizophrenia. Our findings identified a new schizophrenia susceptibility locus on Xq28, which harbor the genes RENBP, MECP2, and ARHGAP4.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
17Neuron 2014 Aug 83: 894-905
PMID25088363
TitleSensory integration in mouse insular cortex reflects GABA circuit maturation.
AbstractInsular cortex (IC) contributes to a variety of complex brain functions, such as communication, social behavior, and self-awareness through the integration of sensory, emotional, and cognitive content. How the IC acquires its integrative properties remains unexplored. We compared the emergence of multisensory integration (MSI) in the IC of behaviorally distinct mouse strains. While adult C57BL/6 mice exhibited robust MSI, this capacity was impaired in the inbred BTBR T+tf/J mouse model of idiopathic autism. The deficit reflected weakened ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) circuits and compromised postnatal pruning of cross-modal input. Transient pharmacological enhancement by diazepam in BTBR mice during an early sensitive period rescued inhibition and integration in the adult IC. Moreover, impaired MSI was common across three other monogenic models (GAD65, Shank3, and MECP2 knockout mice) displaying behavioral phenotypes and parvalbumin-circuit abnormalities. Our findings offer developmental insight into a key neural circuit relevant to neuropsychiatric conditions like schizophrenia and autism.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
18Nat. Neurosci. 2014 Jun 17: 804-6
PMID24777420
TitleCellular origins of auditory event-related potential deficits in Rett syndrome.
AbstractDysfunction in sensory information processing is a hallmark of many neurological disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia and Rett syndrome (RTT). Using mouse models of RTT, a monogenic disorder caused by mutations in MECP2, we found that the large-scale loss of MECP2 from forebrain GABAergic interneurons led to deficits in auditory event-related potentials and seizure manifestation, whereas the restoration of MECP2 in specific classes of interneurons ameliorated these deficits.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
19EMBO Mol Med 2014 May 6: 662-84
PMID24648499
TitleMild expression differences of MECP2 influencing aggressive social behavior.
AbstractThe X-chromosomal MECP2/MECP2 gene encodes methyl-CpG-binding protein 2, a transcriptional activator and repressor regulating many other genes. We discovered in male FVB/N mice that mild (~50%) transgenic overexpression of MECP2 enhances aggression. Surprisingly, when the same transgene was expressed in C57BL/6N mice, transgenics showed reduced aggression and social interaction. This suggests that MECP2 modulates aggressive social behavior. To test this hypothesis in humans, we performed a phenotype-based genetic association study (PGAS) in >1000 schizophrenic individuals. We found MECP2 SNPs rs2239464 (G/A) and rs2734647 (C/T; 3'UTR) associated with aggression, with the G and C carriers, respectively, being more aggressive. This finding was replicated in an independent schizophrenia cohort. Allele-specific MECP2 mRNA expression differs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by ~50% (rs2734647: C > T). Notably, the brain-expressed, species-conserved miR-511 binds to MECP2 3'UTR only in T carriers, thereby suppressing gene expression. To conclude, subtle MECP2/MECP2 expression alterations impact aggression. While the mouse data provides evidence of an interaction between genetic background and mild MECP2 overexpression, the human data convey means by which genetic variation affects MECP2 expression and behavior.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
20EMBO Mol Med 2014 May 6: 662-84
PMID24648499
TitleMild expression differences of MECP2 influencing aggressive social behavior.
AbstractThe X-chromosomal MECP2/MECP2 gene encodes methyl-CpG-binding protein 2, a transcriptional activator and repressor regulating many other genes. We discovered in male FVB/N mice that mild (~50%) transgenic overexpression of MECP2 enhances aggression. Surprisingly, when the same transgene was expressed in C57BL/6N mice, transgenics showed reduced aggression and social interaction. This suggests that MECP2 modulates aggressive social behavior. To test this hypothesis in humans, we performed a phenotype-based genetic association study (PGAS) in >1000 schizophrenic individuals. We found MECP2 SNPs rs2239464 (G/A) and rs2734647 (C/T; 3'UTR) associated with aggression, with the G and C carriers, respectively, being more aggressive. This finding was replicated in an independent schizophrenia cohort. Allele-specific MECP2 mRNA expression differs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by ~50% (rs2734647: C > T). Notably, the brain-expressed, species-conserved miR-511 binds to MECP2 3'UTR only in T carriers, thereby suppressing gene expression. To conclude, subtle MECP2/MECP2 expression alterations impact aggression. While the mouse data provides evidence of an interaction between genetic background and mild MECP2 overexpression, the human data convey means by which genetic variation affects MECP2 expression and behavior.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
21Transl Psychiatry 2014 -1 4: e434
PMID25180573
TitlePrenatal maternal immune activation causes epigenetic differences in adolescent mouse brain.
AbstractEpigenetic processes such as DNA methylation have been implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia and autism. Epigenetic changes can be induced by environmental exposures such as inflammation. Here we tested the hypothesis that prenatal inflammation, a recognized risk factor for schizophrenia and related neurodevelopmental conditions, alters DNA methylation in key brain regions linked to schizophrenia, namely the dopamine rich striatum and endocrine regulatory centre, the hypothalamus. DNA methylation across highly repetitive elements (long interspersed element 1 (LINE1) and intracisternal A-particles (IAPs)) were used to proxy global DNA methylation. We also investigated the MECP2 gene because it regulates transcription of LINE1 and has a known association with neurodevelopmental disorders. Brain tissue was harvested from 6 week old offspring of mice exposed to the viral analog PolyI:C or saline on gestation day 9. We used Sequenom EpiTYPER assay to quantitatively analyze differences in DNA methylation at IAPs, LINE1 elements and the promoter region of MECP2. In the hypothalamus, prenatal exposure to PolyI:C caused significant global DNA hypomethylation (t=2.44, P=0.019, PolyI:C mean 69.67%, saline mean 70.19%), especially in females, and significant hypomethylation of the promoter region of MECP2, (t=3.32, P=0.002; PolyI:C mean 26.57%, saline mean 34.63%). IAP methylation was unaltered. DNA methylation in the striatum was not significantly altered. This study provides the first experimental evidence that exposure to inflammation during prenatal life is associated with epigenetic changes, including MECP2 promoter hypomethylation. This suggests that environmental and genetic risk factors associated with neurodevelopmental disorders may act upon similar pathways. This is important because epigenetic changes are potentially modifiable and their investigation may open new avenues for treatment.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
22Mol. Psychiatry 2014 Jun 19: 652-8
PMID24776741
TitleDe novo mutations in schizophrenia implicate chromatin remodeling and support a genetic overlap with autism and intellectual disability.
Abstractschizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder with a broadly undiscovered genetic etiology. Recent studies of de novo mutations (DNMs) in schizophrenia and autism have reinforced the hypothesis that rare genetic variation contributes to risk. We carried out exome sequencing on 57 trios with sporadic or familial schizophrenia. In sporadic trios, we observed a ~3.5-fold increase in the proportion of nonsense DNMs (0.101 vs 0.031, empirical P=0.01, Benjamini-Hochberg-corrected P=0.044). These mutations were significantly more likely to occur in genes with highly ranked probabilities of haploinsufficiency (P=0.0029, corrected P=0.006). DNMs of potential functional consequence were also found to occur in genes predicted to be less tolerant to rare variation (P=2.01 × 10(-)(5), corrected P=2.1 × 10(-)(3)). Genes with DNMs overlapped with genes implicated in autism (for example, AUTS2, CHD8 and MECP2) and intellectual disability (for example, HUWE1 and TRAPPC9), supporting a shared genetic etiology between these disorders. Functionally CHD8, MECP2 and HUWE1 converge on epigenetic regulation of transcription suggesting that this may be an important risk mechanism. Our results were consistent in an analysis of additional exome-based sequencing studies of other neurodevelopmental disorders. These findings suggest that perturbations in genes, which function in the epigenetic regulation of brain development and cognition, could have a central role in the susceptibility to, pathogenesis and treatment of mental disorders.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
23Front Cell Neurosci 2014 -1 8: 79
PMID24723848
TitleReduced synaptic activity in neuronal networks derived from embryonic stem cells of murine Rett syndrome model.
AbstractNeurodevelopmental diseases such as the Rett syndrome (RTT) have received renewed attention, since the mechanisms involved may underlie a broad range of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. In vertebrates early stages in the functional development of neurons and neuronal networks are difficult to study. Embryonic stem cell-derived neurons provide an easily accessible tool to investigate neuronal differentiation and early network formation. We used in vitro cultures of neurons derived from murine embryonic stem cells missing the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene (MECP2-/y) and from wild type cells of the corresponding background. Cultures were assessed using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology and immunofluorescence. We studied the functional maturation of developing neurons and the activity of the synaptic connections they formed. Neurons exhibited minor differences in the developmental patterns for their intrinsic parameters, such as resting membrane potential and excitability; with the MECP2-/y cells showing a slightly accelerated development, with shorter action potential half-widths at early stages. There was no difference in the early phase of synapse development, but as the cultures matured, significant deficits became apparent, particularly for inhibitory synaptic activity. MECP2-/y embryonic stem cell-derived neuronal cultures show clear developmental deficits that match phenotypes observed in slice preparations and thus provide a compelling tool to further investigate the mechanisms behind RTT pathophysiology.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
24Brain Behav. Immun. 2015 May 46: 60-9
PMID25728234
TitleGadd45b is an epigenetic regulator of juvenile social behavior and alters local pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the rodent amygdala.
AbstractPrecise regulation of the epigenome during perinatal development is critical to the formation of species-typical behavior later in life. Recent data suggests that Gadd45b facilitates active DNA demethylation by recruiting proteins involved in base excision repair (BER), which will catalyze substitution of 5-methyl-cytosine (5mC) for an unmodified cytosine. While a role for Gadd45b has been implicated in both hippocampal and amygdalar learning tasks, to the best of our knowledge, no study has been done investigating the involvement of Gadd45b in neurodevelopmental programming of social behavior. To address this, we used a targeted siRNA delivery approach to transiently knock down Gadd45b expression in the neonatal rat amygdala. We chose to examine social behavior in the juvenile period, as social deficits associated with neurodevelopmental disorders tend to emerge in humans at an equivalent age. We find that neonatal Gadd45b knock-down results in altered juvenile social behavior and reduced expression of several genes implicated in psychiatric disorders, including methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2), Reelin, and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). We furthermore report a novel role for Gadd45b in the programmed expression of ?2-adrenoceptor (Adra2a). Consistent with Gadd45b's role in the periphery, we also observed changes in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (Il-6) and interleukin-1beta (Il-1beta) in the amygdala, which could potentially mediate or exacerbate effects of Gadd45b knockdown on the organization of social behavior. These data suggest a prominent role for Gadd45b in the epigenetic programming of complex juvenile social interactions, and may provide insight into the etiology of juvenile behavioral disorders such as ADHD, autism, and/or schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
25Neuron 2015 Nov 88: 651-8
PMID26590342
TitleLoss of MeCP2 in Parvalbumin-and Somatostatin-Expressing Neurons in Mice Leads to Distinct Rett Syndrome-like Phenotypes.
AbstractInhibitory neurons are critical for proper brain function, and their dysfunction is implicated in several disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, and Rett syndrome. These neurons are heterogeneous, and it is unclear which subtypes contribute to specific neurological phenotypes. We deleted MECP2, the mouse homolog of the gene that causes Rett syndrome, from the two most populous subtypes, parvalbumin-positive (PV+) and somatostatin-positive (SOM+) neurons. Loss of MECP2 partially impairs the affected neuron, allowing us to assess the function of each subtype without profound disruption of neuronal circuitry. We found that mice lacking MECP2 in either PV+ or SOM+ neurons have distinct, non-overlapping neurological features: mice lacking MECP2 in PV+ neurons developed motor, sensory, memory, and social deficits, whereas those lacking MECP2 in SOM+ neurons exhibited seizures and stereotypies. Our findings indicate that PV+ and SOM+ neurons contribute complementary aspects of the Rett phenotype and may have modular roles in regulating specific behaviors.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
26Epigenetics 2015 Dec 10: 1143-55
PMID26575259
TitleMaternal immune activation induces GAD1 and GAD2 promoter remodeling in the offspring prefrontal cortex.
AbstractMaternal infection during pregnancy increases the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring. In addition to its influence on other neuronal systems, this early-life environmental adversity has been shown to negatively affect cortical ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) functions in adult life, including impaired prefrontal expression of enzymes required for GABA synthesis. The underlying molecular processes, however, remain largely unknown. In the present study, we explored whether epigenetic modifications represent a mechanism whereby maternal infection during pregnancy can induce such GABAergic impairments in the offspring. We used an established mouse model of prenatal immune challenge that is based on maternal treatment with the viral mimetic poly(I:C). We found that prenatal immune activation increased prefrontal levels of 5-methylated cytosines (5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylated cytosines (5hmC) in the promoter region of GAD1, which encodes the 67-kDa isoform of the GABA-synthesising enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67). The early-life challenge also increased 5mC levels at the promoter region of GAD2, which encodes the 65-kDa GAD isoform (GAD65). These effects were accompanied by elevated GAD1 and GAD2 promoter binding of methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) and by reduced GAD67 and GAD65 mRNA expression. Moreover, the epigenetic modifications at the GAD1 promoter correlated with prenatal infection-induced impairments in working memory and social interaction. Our study thus highlights that hypermethylation of GAD1 and GAD2 promoters may be an important molecular mechanism linking prenatal infection to presynaptic GABAergic impairments and associated behavioral and cognitive abnormalities in the offspring.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
27Front Cell Neurosci 2015 -1 9: 154
PMID26029044
TitlePotential primary roles of glial cells in the mechanisms of psychiatric disorders.
AbstractWhile neurons have long been considered the major player in multiple brain functions such as perception, emotion, and memory, glial cells have been relegated to a far lesser position, acting as merely a "glue" to support neurons. Multiple lines of recent evidence, however, have revealed that glial cells such as oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and microglia, substantially impact on neuronal function and activities and are significantly involved in the underlying pathobiology of psychiatric disorders. Indeed, a growing body of evidence indicates that glial cells interact extensively with neurons both chemically (e.g., through neurotransmitters, neurotrophic factors, and cytokines) and physically (e.g., through gap junctions), supporting a role for these cells as likely significant modifiers not only of neural function in brain development but also disease pathobiology. Since questions have lingered as to whether glial dysfunction plays a primary role in the biology of neuropsychiatric disorders or a role related solely to their support of neuronal physiology in these diseases, informative and predictive animal models have been developed over the last decade. In this article, we review recent findings uncovered using glia-specific genetically modified mice with which we can evaluate both the causation of glia dysfunction and its potential role in neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic
28Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Feb 18: -1
PMID25522397
TitlePrenatal nutritional deficiency reprogrammed postnatal gene expression in mammal brains: implications for schizophrenia.
AbstractEpidemiological studies have identified prenatal exposure to famine as a risk factor for schizophrenia, and animal models of prenatal malnutrition display structural and functional brain abnormalities implicated in schizophrenia.
The offspring of the RLP50 rat, a recently developed animal model of prenatal famine malnutrition exposure, was used to investigate the changes of gene expression and epigenetic modifications in the brain regions. Microarray gene expression analysis was carried out in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus from 8 RLP50 offspring rats and 8 controls. MBD-seq was used to test the changes in DNA methylation in hippocampus depending on prenatal malnutrition exposure.
In the prefrontal cortex, offspring of RLP50 exhibit differences in neurotransmitters and olfactory-associated gene expression. In the hippocampus, the differentially-expressed genes are related to synaptic function and transcription regulation. DNA methylome profiling of the hippocampus also shows widespread but systematic epigenetic changes; in most cases (87%) this involves hypermethylation. Remarkably, genes encoded for the plasma membrane are significantly enriched for changes in both gene expression and DNA methylome profiling screens (p = 2.37×10(-9) and 5.36×10(-9), respectively). Interestingly, MECP2 and Slc2a1, two genes associated with cognitive impairment, show significant down-regulation, and Slc2a1 is hypermethylated in the hippocampus of the RLP50 offspring.
Collectively, our results indicate that prenatal exposure to malnutrition leads to the reprogramming of postnatal brain gene expression and that the epigenetic modifications contribute to the reprogramming. The process may impair learning and memory ability and result in higher susceptibility to schizophrenia.
SCZ Keywordsschizophrenia, schizophrenic