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Altered Dimerization of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 3 in Schizophrenia

      Background

      Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlus) may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Group II mGlus (mGlu2 and mGlu3) have attracted considerable interest since the development of potent specific agonists that exhibit atypical antipsychotic-like activity and reports of a genetic association between the mGlu3 gene and schizophrenia.

      Methods

      In this postmortem study, mGlu3 protein levels in Brodmann area 10 of prefrontal cortex from schizophrenic (n = 20) and control (n = 35) subjects were analyzed by western immunoblotting using a novel specific mGlu3 antibody and an antibody for the vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGluT1).

      Results

      We report a significant decrease in the dimeric/oligomeric forms of mGlu3 in schizophrenic patients compared with control subjects, whereas total mGlu3 and VGluT1 levels were not altered significantly.

      Conclusions

      This is the first experimental evidence that mGlu3 receptor levels are altered in schizophrenia and supports the hypothesis that neurotransmission involving this particular excitatory amino acid receptor is impaired in schizophrenia.

      Key Words

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