The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) is often implicated in schizophrenia (SZ) pathology, but with little evidence to support its role. This study examined postmortem human tissue to determine if abnormalities are present in the dopaminergic or glutamatergic systems in the NAcc in SZ. We compared the protein levels of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and vesicular glutamate transporters vGLUT1 and vGLUT2 in control (n=7) and schizophrenia (n=13) subjects using Western blot analysis. The SZ subjects were further divided by treatment status: SZ on-drug (SZ-ON, n=6) and SZ off-drug (SZ-OFF, n=7), to assess the effects of antipsychotic treatment. TH protein levels were similar between control and SZ subjects, and there was no difference between SZ-ON and SZ-OFF subjects. Protein levels of vGLUT1 were similar in control and SZ subjects, and there was no difference in vGLUT1 protein levels between SZ-ON and SZ-OFF subjects. In contrast, vGLUT2 protein levels were significantly elevated in the SZ group (25% increase). Protein levels of vGLUT2 did not differ between SZ-ON and SZ-OFF subjects. Similar levels of TH suggest the presynaptic DA pathway may be normal in the NAcc in SZ. The elevated vGLUT2 protein levels, but not vGLUT1, suggest the NAcc receives increased glutamatergic input in SZ, possibly from thalamic or other subcortical origins. The similarity between SZ-ON and SZ-OFF subjects suggests that the results are not caused by APD treatment. These findings provide further insight into the role of the NAcc in SZ.
Keywords: Antipsychotic; Dopamine; Human; Striatum; Western blot.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.