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Glutamate decarboxylase 1 (EC (67 kDa glutamic acid decarboxylase) (GAD-67) (Glutamate decarboxylase 67 kDa isoform) [GAD] [GAD67]


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

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 GABA(A) 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 67 kilodalton 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.

MeSH Terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Prefrontal Cortex
  • RNA, Messenger
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid

DNA methylation in the human cerebral cortex is dynamically regulated throughout the life span and involves differentiated neurons.

The role of DNA cytosine methylation, an epigenetic regulator of chromatin structure and function, during normal and pathological brain development and aging remains unclear. Here, we examined by MethyLight PCR the DNA methylation status at 50 loci, encompassing primarily 5' CpG islands of genes related to CNS growth and development, in temporal neocortex of 125 subjects ranging in age from 17 weeks of gestation to 104 years old. Two psychiatric disease cohorts--defined by chronic neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's) or lack thereof (schizophrenia)--were included. A robust and progressive rise in DNA methylation levels across the lifespan was observed for 8/50 loci (GABRA2, GAD1, HOXA1, NEUROD1, NEUROD2, PGR, STK11, SYK) typically in conjunction with declining levels of the corresponding mRNAs. Another 16 loci were defined by a sharp rise in DNA methylation levels within the first few months or years after birth. Disease-associated changes were limited to 2/50 loci in the Alzheimer's cohort, which appeared to reflect an acceleration of the age-related change in normal brain. Additionally, methylation studies on sorted nuclei provided evidence for bidirectional methylation events in cortical neurons during the transition from childhood to advanced age, as reflected by significant increases at 3, and a decrease at 1 of 10 loci. Furthermore, the DNMT3a de novo DNA methyl-transferase was expressed across all ages, including a subset of neurons residing in layers III and V of the mature cortex. Therefore, DNA methylation is dynamically regulated in the human cerebral cortex throughout the lifespan, involves differentiated neurons, and affects a substantial portion of genes predominantly by an age-related increase.

MeSH Terms

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Cohort Studies
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • DNA Methylation
  • Humans
  • Neurons
  • Schizophrenia