Background: Mitochondrial dysfunction was reported in schizophrenia, bipolar disorderand major depression. The present study investigated whether mitochondrial complex I abnormalities show disease-specific characteristics.
Methodology/principal findings: mRNA and protein levels of complex I subunits NDUFV1, NDUFV2 and NADUFS1, were assessed in striatal and lateral cerebellar hemisphere postmortem specimens and analyzed together with our previous data from prefrontal and parieto-occipital cortices specimens of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and healthy subjects. A disease-specific anatomical pattern in complex I subunits alterations was found. Schizophrenia-specific reductions were observed in the prefrontal cortex and in the striatum. The depressed group showed consistent reductions in all three subunits in the cerebellum. The bipolar group, however, showed increased expression in the parieto-occipital cortex, similar to those observed in schizophrenia, and reductions in the cerebellum, yet less consistent than the depressed group.
Conclusions/significance: These results suggest that the neuroanatomical pattern of complex I pathology parallels the diversity and similarities in clinical symptoms of these mental disorders.