The regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) molecules are a class of proteins that modulate the signaling activity of G-protein coupled receptors. Regulator of G protein signaling 4 (RGS4) is of particular interest in schizophrenia since it is associated with the dopamine (DA) receptor, its expression is altered in affected CNS tissue, and polymorphisms in the RGS4 gene are being examined as risk factors for the disease (Morris et al.2004, Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 125:50-53; Prasad et al.2005, Mol Psychiatry 10:213-219; Williams et al.2004, Biol Psychiatry 55:192-195). To further test for the involvement of RGS4 expression in schizophrenia, we examined a selection of different cortical and subcortical regions in human brain for alterations in RGS4 mRNA and protein expression. To evaluate the effect of antipsychotic medication on RGS4 expression levels, we compared a subset of treated and untreated cases that were off antipsychotic medication for at least 3 months prior to death. We report a significant decrease in RGS4 mRNA levels in the cingulate gyrus, superior frontal gyrus, and the insular cortex of all schizophrenia cases when compared with controls. A decrease in RGS4 mRNA was also observed in the caudate, but only in the medicated schizophrenia cases. Measurement of protein levels using Western blot demonstrated that RGS4 protein is decreased in the frontal cortex of schizophrenia cases.
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