Role of mouse Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 in cortical interneuron development.
Schizophrenia is a relatively poorly understood, debilitating psychiatric disorder affecting around 0.5% of the population worldwide. The main characteristics of the disease are hallucinations, delusions and cognitive impairment such as difficulty in learning. It has been recently suggested that Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1 (DISC1) might be one of the main genetic risk factors for this disease. Mouse Disc1 has been implicated in brain development, mainly in neurite outgrowth, integration of newborn neurons, neuronal precursor proliferation/differentiation and neuronal migration. Disc1 function in the cortical excitatory cells was studied in fair detail but there is little data on Disc1 role in cortical interneuron development. In this study I have investigated development of the cortical interneurons in 21 days old mice with ENU-induced point mutations in the mouse Disc1 sequence - L100P and Q31L; previously characterized as ‘schizophrenic-like’ and ‘depressive-like’ respectively. Bin analysis was performed on five brain regions: frontal and central primary somatosensory (fSSp and SSp respectively) cortices, ventral auditory (vAud) cortex, visual (Vis) cortex and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC); for four major interneuronal markers: parvalbumin (PV), somatostatin (STT), calretitnin (CLR) and glutamate decarboxylase 67 (GAD67). A significant decrease in PV (protein and mRNA) expression was observed in a subclass of the cortical interneurons in the fSSp, SSp, vAud and Vis cortices of L100P homozyogous (L100P) and heterozygous (L100P +/-) mouse brains when compared to their wild-type (WT) littermates. No such difference in the PV positive cells was found in the MPFC in the L100P mouse brain. Other interneuronal markers expression was not different in the L100P and L100P +/- brain from that in the WT littermate controls. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in any of the interneuronal markers expression in the Q31L mouse brain cortex. A minor change in the relative distribution of the interneurons (GAD67 positive cells) was found in the L100P but not Q31L brain. With no difference in the number of the interneurons and the nature of PV expression regulation, the cell non-autonomous effect of L100P Disc1 on this subpopulation of intereneurons was investigated. Overexpression of the mouse Disc1-100P in utero in the radial glia cells born at E14.5 (future layer II/III and IV excitatory cells) resulted in a significant decrease in the PV positive cells in all of the electroporated regions (fSSp, SSp, vAud and Vis cortices) when compared to mouse WT Disc1 overexpression. Furthermore, a decrease in the PV cells on the contralateral side was observed in the SSp and Vis cortices. This study demonstrates that mouse Disc1 is involved in the generation of parvalbumin expressing interneurons within the cortex in a cell non-autonomous way. The L100P point mutation in Disc1 led to downregulation of parvalbumin, which in turn would result in abnormal inhibitory properties of this interneuron subtype.