Post-mortem studies have yet to produce consistent findings on cortical glutamatergic markers in schizophrenia; therefore, it is not possible to fully understand the role of abnormal glutamatergic function in the pathology of the disorder. To better understand the changes in cortical glutamatergic markers in schizophrenia, we measured the binding of radioligands to the ionotropic glutamate receptors (N-methyl D-aspartate, [3H]CGP39653, [ 3H]MK-801), amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole ([ 3H]AMPA), kainate ([3H]kainate), and the high-affinity glutamate uptake site ([3H]aspartate) using in situ radioligand binding with autoradiography and levels of mRNA for kainate receptors using in situ hybridization in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex from 20 subjects with schizophrenia and 20 controls matched for age and sex. Levels of [ 3H]kainate binding were significantly decreased in cortical laminae I-II (p = 0.01), III-IV (p < 0.05), and V-VI (p < 0.01) from subjects with schizophrenia. By contrast, levels of [3H]MK-801, [ 3H]AMPA, [3H]aspartate, or [3H]CGP39653 binding did not differ between the diagnostic cohorts. Levels of mRNA for the GluR5 subunit were decreased overall (p < 0.05), with no changes in levels of mRNA for GluR6, GluR7, KA1, or KA2 in tissue from subjects with schizophrenia. These data indicate that the decreased number of kainate receptors in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia may result, in part, from reduced expression of the GluR5 receptor subunits. © 2005 Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved.