Proline dehydrogenase (PRODH), which degrades L-proline, resides within the schizophrenia-linked 22q11.2 deletion suggesting a role in disease. Supporting this, elevated L-proline levels have been shown to increase risk for psychotic disorders. Despite the strength of data linking PRODH and L-proline to neuropsychiatric diseases, targets of disease-relevant concentrations of L-proline have not been convincingly described. Here, we show that Prodh-deficient mice with elevated CNS L-proline display specific deficits in high-frequency GABA-ergic transmission and gamma-band oscillations. We find that L-proline is a GABA-mimetic and can act at multiple GABA-ergic targets. However, at disease-relevant concentrations, GABA-mimesis is limited to competitive blockade of glutamate decarboxylase leading to reduced GABA production. Significantly, deficits in GABA-ergic transmission are reversed by enhancing net GABA production with the clinically relevant compound vigabatrin. These findings indicate that accumulation of a neuroactive metabolite can lead to molecular and synaptic dysfunction and help to understand mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disease.
Keywords: 22Q11.2; GAD; L-proline; PRODH; gamma oscillations; in vivo neural circuits; neuroactive metabolites; psychiatric diseases; schizophrenia; synaptic plasticity.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.