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Negative symptoms are the most resilient manifestations in schizophrenia. An imbalance in dopamine and glutamate pathways has been proposed for the emergence of these symptoms. SP1, SP3 and SP4 transcription factors regulate genes in these pathways, suggesting a possible involvement in negative symptoms. In this study, we characterized Sp factors in the brains of subjects with schizophrenia and explored a possible association with negative symptoms. We also included analysis of NR1, NR2A and DRD2 as Sp target genes. Postmortem cerebellum and prefrontal cortex from an antemortem clinically well-characterized and controlled collection of elderly subjects with chronic schizophrenia (n = 16) and control individuals (n = 14) were examined. We used the Positive and Negative Syndrome and the Clinical Global Impression Schizophrenia scales, quantitative PCR and immunoblot. SP1 protein and mRNA were reduced in the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia whereas none of Sp factors were altered in the cerebellum. However, we found that SP1, SP3 and SP4 protein levels inversely correlated with negative symptoms in the cerebellum. Furthermore, NR2A and DRD2 mRNA levels correlated with negative symptoms in the cerebellum. In the prefrontal cortex, SP1 mRNA and NR1 and DRD2 inversely correlated with these symptoms while Sp protein levels did not. This pilot study not only reinforces the involvement of SP1 in schizophrenia, but also suggests that reduced levels or function of SP1, SP4 and SP3 may participate in negative symptoms, in part through the regulation of NMDA receptor subunits and/or Dopamine D2 receptor, providing novel information about the complex negative symptoms in this disorder.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychiatr Res

Publication Date





926 - 934


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Brain, Chronic Disease, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Pilot Projects, Postmortem Changes, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, Dopamine D2, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Schizophrenia, Sp Transcription Factors, Statistics, Nonparametric