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Insults to DNC in Mental Illness

Schizophrenia: Genetic Insults and Layer III of dlPFC

Many layer III dlPFC DNC proteins are genetically altered in schizophrenia, and/or have documented changes in expression. A number of proteins that normally serve to strengthen synaptic efficacy, e.g. by regulating Ca2+-cAMP signaling, are lost or weakened in schizophrenia, while those molecules that decrease PFC network connectivity by activating Ca2+-cAMP signaling are often increased in the dlPFC of patients with schizophrenia.

If you are interested: Arnsten AFT, Wang MJ, Paspalas CD (2012) Neuromodulation of thought: Flexibilities and vulnerabilities in prefrontal cortical network synapses. Neuron 76: 223-239.

Genetic Insults to Molecules that Inhibit the Stress Response

Many of the molecules that reign in the stress response are genetically altered in mental illness. For example, translocation in DISC1 is associated with a variety of mental illnesses including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder; PDE4A is altered in schizophrenia, RGS4 is reduced in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; and DGK has been associated with bipolar disorder where there may be excessive PKC signaling. The α2A-AR has been associated with ADHD. The loss of regulation of the stress response may contribute to PFC gray matter loss in these disorders.

If you are interested: Arnsten and Manji​(2008) Mania: A rational neurobiology. Future Neurology 3: 125-131. Arnsten (2011) Prefrontal cortical network connections: key site of vulnerability in stress and schizophrenia. Int J Dev Neuro. 29: 215-23.