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The mRNAs encoding kainic acid (KA) preferring glutamate receptor subunits (GluR5-7, KA1 and KA2) are differentially expressed in rat brain. We have used regional and cellular in situ hybridization histochemistry with subunit-specific 35S-labelled oligodeoxyribonucleotides to examine these mRNAs in adult human hippocampus, neocortex and cerebellum. GluR5 mRNA was detected only in Purkinje cells and a few scattered hippocampal neurons. GluR6 mRNA was relatively abundant in all areas, notably in dentate gyrus, pyramidal neurons of CA3, and cerebellar granule cells, as well as being present in superficial and deep laminae of the neocortex. Moderate signal for GluR7 mRNA was seen in deep laminae of the neocortex with a weak signal in the dentate gyrus; in dipped sections GluR7 mRNA was also apparent over some pyramidal and non-pyramidal cells in hippocampus and over putative cerebellar stellate/basket cells. KA1 mRNA was detected in the dentate gyrus but not reliably elsewhere. The expression profile and abundance of KA2 mRNA was similar to that of GluR6 mRNA. For all five transcripts, concurrent hybridization of rat brain sections produced the anticipated distribution of signal. The data indicate that the regional and cellular distribution of KA receptor subunit mRNAs in human hippocampus, neocortex and cerebellum largely parallels that in the corresponding areas of rat brain, albeit at lower levels, especially with regard to GluR5 and KA1 transcripts. In schizophrenia there is a partial loss of hippocampal non-NMDA receptors, but there are no data concerning KA receptor subunit expression. KA2 and GluR6 mRNAs were sufficiently abundant for a comparison in the left and right hippocampus between 11 schizophrenics and 13 controls. Using film autoradiography, both mRNAs were significantly reduced in the schizophrenics, having controlled for the effects of brain pH, post mortem interval and age. GluR6 mRNA was also quantitated in cerebellum, wherein no differences were found between cases and controls. In conjunction with earlier findings of reduced hippocampal GluR1 and GluR2 expression and a loss of [3H]KA binding sites, these data show that schizophrenia is associated with impaired expression of both AMPA- and KA-preferring ionotropic glutamate receptors. These deficits are likely to contribute to the glutamatergic component of the disease pathophysiology.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Brain Res

Publication Date

21/03/1997

Volume

751

Pages

217 - 231

Keywords

Aged, Animals, Brain, Cerebellum, Cerebral Cortex, Female, Hippocampus, Humans, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Kainic Acid, Male, Middle Aged, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Receptors, Glutamate, Receptors, Kainic Acid, Reference Values, Schizophrenia, Tissue Distribution