The neuronal GABAergic mechanisms that mediate the symptomatic beneficial effects elicited by a combination of antipsychotics with valproate (a histone deacetylase inhibitor) in the treatment of psychosis (expressed by schizophrenia or bipolar disorder patients) are unknown. This prompted us to investigate whether the beneficial action of this combination results from a modification of histone tail covalent esterification or is secondary to specific chromatin remodeling.
Several lines of schizophrenia (SZ) research suggest that a functional downregulation of the prefrontal cortex GABAergic neuronal system is mediated by a promoter hypermethylation, presumably catalyzed by an increase in DNA-methyltransferase-1 (DNMT-1) expression. This promoter hypermethylation may be mediated not only by DNMT-1 but also by an entire family of de novo DNA-methyltransferases, such as DNA-methyltransferase-3a (DNMT-3a) and -3b (DNMT-3b).
The major psychotic disorders schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are etiologically complex involving both heritable and nonheritable factors. The absence of consistently replicated major genetic effects, together with evidence for lasting changes in gene expression after environmental exposures, is consistent with the concept that the biologic underpinnings of these disorders are epigenetic in form rather than DNA sequence based.
It is becoming increasingly clear that a dysfunction of the GABAergic/glutamatergic network in telencephalic brain structures may be the pathogenetic mechanism underlying psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar (BP) disorder patients. Data obtained in Costa's laboratory (1996-2009) suggest that this dysfunction may be mediated primarily by a downregulation in the expression of GABAergic genes (e.g., glutamic acid decarboxylase??[GAD??] and reelin) associated with DNA methyltransferase (DNMT)-dependent hypermethylation of their promoters.
In 1996, Dr. Costa was invited by Prof. Boris Astrachan, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, to direct the research of the "Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, at the University of Illinois at Chicago." He was asked to develop a seminal research program on psychiatric disorders. Viewed in retrospect, Dr. Costa met and surpassed the challenge, as was usual for him.
AIMS: Alcoholism is a multifactorial, genetically influenced disorder. It is a major health and social issue, a highly frequent disease and a cause of premature death. It is also the most expensive addictive disorder due to morbidity, mortality, societal and legal problems. Besides their involvement in alcohol-related fatalities, forensic scientists are also required to assess driving and working ability as well as permanent invalidity due to alcohol-related conditions.
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Notwithstanding the considerable advances in the treatment options for schizophrenia, the cognitive symptoms in particular are not receptive to antipsychotic treatment and considered one of the main predictors for poor social and functional outcome of the disease. Recent findings in preclinical model systems indicate that epigenetic modulation might emerge as a promising target for the treatment of cognitive disorders.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
Glutamate decarboxylases (GAD67/65; GAD1/GAD2) are crucially involved in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesis and thus were repeatedly suggested to play an important role in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. In the present study, DNA methylation patterns in the GAD1 and GAD2 promoter and GAD1 intron 2 regions were investigated for association with panic disorder, with particular attention to possible effects of environmental factors.
IMPORTANCE: Dysfunction related to ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurotransmission in the pathophysiology of major psychosis has been well established by the work of multiple groups across several decades, including the widely replicated downregulation of GAD1. Prior gene expression and network analyses within the human hippocampus implicate a broader network of genes, termed the GAD1 regulatory network, in regulation of GAD1 expression.
The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
We demonstrated recently that low concentrations of ethanol enhanced the muscimol-stimulated chloride influx in cerebellar membranes from long sleep (LS-ethanol sensitive) mice, but had no effect on membranes from short sleep (SS-ethanol resistant) mice. The LS and SS were selected from a heterogeneous stock (HS) of mice for differential sensitivity to the hypnotic effects of ethanol as measured by the duration of the loss of the righting reflex (sleep time). In the present study, we tested 100 HS for ethanol sleep time.