Actin polymerization is reduced in the anterior cingulate cortex of elderly patients with schizophrenia

Academic Article


  • Recent reports suggest abnormalities in the regulation of actin cytoskeletal dynamics in schizophrenia, despite consistent evidence for normal actin expression. We hypothesized that this may be explained by changes in the polymerization state of actin, rather than in total actin expression. To test this, we prepared filamentous actin (F-actin, polymeric) and globular actin (G-actin, monomeric) fractions from postmortem anterior cingulate cortex from 16 patients with schizophrenia and 14 comparison subjects. Additionally, binding of fluorescently-labeled phalloidin, a selectively F-actin-binding peptide, was measured in unfractionated samples from the same subjects. Western blot analysis of fractions revealed decreased F-actin, increased G-actin, and decreased ratios of F-actin/total actin and F-actin/G-actin in schizophrenia. Decreased phalloidin binding to F-actin in parallel experiments in the same subjects independently supports these findings. These results suggest a novel aspect of schizophrenia pathophysiology and are consistent with previous evidence of reduced dendritic spine density and altered synaptic plasticity in schizophrenia, both of which have been linked to cytoskeletal abnormalities.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bhambhvani HP; Mueller TM; Simmons MS; Meador-Woodruff JH
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 12