Aggrecan and chondroitin-6-sulfate abnormalities in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: a postmortem study on the amygdala

Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Jan 20;5(1):e496. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.128.


Perineuronal nets (PNNs) are specialized extracellular matrix aggregates surrounding distinct neuronal populations and regulating synaptic functions and plasticity. Previous findings showed robust PNN decreases in amygdala, entorhinal cortex and prefrontal cortex of subjects with schizophrenia (SZ), but not bipolar disorder (BD). These studies were carried out using a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) lectin marker. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the CSPG aggrecan, and 6-sulfated chondroitin sulfate (CS-6) chains highly represented in aggrecan, may contribute to these abnormalities. Antibodies against aggrecan and CS-6 (3B3 and CS56) were used in the amygdala of healthy control, SZ and BD subjects. In controls, aggrecan immunoreactivity (IR) was observed in PNNs and glial cells. Antibody 3B3, but not CS56, also labeled PNNs in the amygdala. In addition, dense clusters of CS56 and 3B3 IR encompassed CS56- and 3B3-IR glia, respectively. In SZ, numbers of aggrecan- and 3B3-IR PNNs were decreased, together with marked reductions of aggrecan-IR glial cells and CS-6 (3B3 and CS56)-IR 'clusters'. In BD, numbers of 3B3-IR PNNs and CS56-IR clusters were reduced. Our findings show disruption of multiple PNN populations in the amygdala of SZ and, more modestly, BD. Decreases of aggrecan-IR glia and CS-6-IR glial 'clusters', in sharp contrast to increases of CSPG/lectin-positive glia previously observed, indicate that CSPG abnormalities may affect distinct glial cell populations and suggest a potential mechanism for PNN decreases. Together, these abnormalities may contribute to a destabilization of synaptic connectivity and regulation of neuronal functions in the amygdala of subjects with major psychoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aggrecans / metabolism*
  • Amygdala / metabolism*
  • Bipolar Disorder / metabolism*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Schizophrenia / metabolism*


  • ACAN protein, human
  • Aggrecans
  • Chondroitin Sulfates