Decreased glutamic acid decarboxylase mRNA expression in prefrontal cortex in Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • Parkinson's disease (PD) patients typically suffer from motor disorders but mild to severe cognitive deficits can also be present. Neuropathology of PD primarily involves loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, pars compacta, although more widespread pathology from the brainstem to the cerebral cortex occurs at different stages of the disease. Cognitive deficits in PD are thought to involve the cerebral cortex, and imaging studies have identified the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) as a possible site for some of the symptoms. GABAergic neurons in the cerebral cortex play a key role in the modulation of pyramidal neurons and alterations in muscimol binding to GABAA receptors have been reported in Brodmann area 9 (BA9) of the prefrontal cortex in PD patients (Nishino et al., 1988). In order to further assess the likelihood that GABAergic activity is altered in the prefrontal cortex in PD, gene expression of the 67kilodalton isoform of the GABA-synthesizing enzyme, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD67 encoded by the GAD1 gene), was examined in BA9 of post-mortem brains from 19 patients and 20 controls using isotopic in situ hybridization histochemistry. GAD67 mRNA labeling was examined and quantified on X-ray films and emulsion radioautographs. We show that GAD67 mRNA labeling is significantly lower in PD compared to control cases. Analysis of emulsion radioautographs indicates that GAD67 mRNA labeling is decreased in individual neurons and is not paralleled by a decrease in the number of GAD67 mRNA-labeled neurons. Analysis of expression data from a microarray study performed in 29 control and 33 PD samples from BA9 confirms that GAD67 expression is decreased in PD. Another finding from the microarray study is a negative relationship between GAD67 mRNA expression and age at death. Altogether, the results support the possibility that GABAergic neurotransmission is impaired in the DLPFC in PD, an effect that may be involved in some of the behavioral deficits associated with the disease. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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    Author List

  • Lanoue AC; Dumitriu A; Myers RH; Soghomonian JJ
  • Start Page

  • 207
  • End Page

  • 217
  • Volume

  • 226
  • Issue

  • 1