Exosome Transplantation From Patients With Schizophrenia Causes Schizophrenia-Relevant Behaviors in Mice: An Integrative Multi-omics Data Analysis

Schizophr Bull. 2021 Apr 10;sbab039. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbab039. Online ahead of print.


Exosomes are involved in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric diseases, but the role of exosomes in schizophrenia (SCZ) is unclear. Here, we demonstrate that transplantation of serum exosomes from SCZ patients into mice caused behavioral abnormalities such as deficits in prepulse inhibition and sociability, hyperactivity, and anxiogenesis. A comparative bioinformatics analysis suggested shared and distinct differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and enriched molecular pathways in the brains of SCZ exosome-recipient mice, methylazoxymethanol acetate-treated rats, and SCZ patients, which correlates evidence of altered prefrontal-hippocampal functional coherence in SCZ. A large proportion of SCZ-relevant DEGs in the exosome-recipient mice were targets of DE exosomal miRNAs in SCZ patients. Furthermore, we identified 20 hub genes for SCZ risk genes, including BDNF and NRG1, which were DE miRNA targets in SCZ. Collectively, our study suggests that SCZ exosome transplantation caused SCZ-relevant behaviors in mice, and epigenetic regulation may contribute to the phenotypes in the SCZ exosome-recipient mice. Our results may provide a potential animal model and novel therapeutic targets for SCZ.

Keywords: behavior; bioinformatics; exosome; miRNA; schizophrenia.