Evidence for prefrontal cortical (PFC) GABAergic dysfunction is one of the most consistent findings in schizophrenia and may contribute to cognitive deficits. Recent studies suggest that the mGlu1 subtype of metabotropic glutamate receptor regulates cortical inhibition; however, understanding the mechanisms through which mGlu1 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) regulate PFC microcircuit function and cognition is essential for advancing these potential therapeutics toward the clinic. We report a series of electrophysiology, optogenetic, pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging, and animal behavior studies demonstrating that activation of mGlu1 receptors increases inhibitory transmission in the prelimbic PFC by selective excitation of somatostatin-expressing interneurons (SST-INs). An mGlu1 PAM reverses cortical hyperactivity and concomitant cognitive deficits induced by N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists. Using in vivo optogenetics, we show that prelimbic SST-INs are necessary for mGlu1 PAM efficacy. Collectively, these findings suggest that mGlu1 PAMs could reverse cortical GABAergic deficits and exhibit efficacy in treating cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia.
Keywords: NMDA receptor hypofunction; cognitive deficits; excitation-inhibition balance; inhibitory transmission; mGlu(1); metabotropic glutamate receptor; prefrontal cortex; schizophrenia; somatostatin interneurons; working memory.
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