Astrocyte DISC1 contributes to cognitive function in a brain region-dependent manner

Alexey V. Shevelkin, Chantelle E. Terrillion, Yuto Hasegawa, Olga A. Mychko, Yan Jouroukhin, Akira Sawa, Atsushi Kamiya, Mikhail Pletnikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the contribution of genetic risk factors to neuropsychiatric diseases is limited to abnormal neurodevelopment and neuronal dysfunction. Much less is known about the mechanisms whereby risk variants could affect the physiology of glial cells. Our prior studies have shown that a mutant (dominant-negative) form of a rare but highly penetrant psychiatric risk factor, Disrupted-In-Schizophrenia-1 (DISC1), impairs metabolic functions of astrocytes and leads to cognitive dysfunction. In order to overcome the limitations of the mutant DISC1 model and understand the putative regional properties of astrocyte DISC1, we assessed whether knockdown of Disc1 (Disc1-KD) in mature mouse astrocytes of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) or the hippocampus would produce behavioral abnormalities that could be attributed to astrocyte bioenergetics. We found that Disc1-KD in the hippocampus but not PFC impaired trace fear conditioning in adult mice. Using the innovative deep learning approach and convolutional deep neural networks (cDNNs), ResNet50 or ResNet18, and single cell-based analysis, we found that Disc1-KD decreased the spatial density of astrocytes associated with abnormal levels and distribution of the mitochondrial markers and the glutamate transporter, GLAST. Disc1-KD in astrocytes also led to decreased expression of the glutamatergic and increased expression of the GABA-ergic synaptic markers, possibly via non-apoptotic activation of caspase 3 in neurons located within the individual territories of Disc1-KD astrocytes. Our results indicate that altered expression of DISC1 in astrocytes could impair astrocyte bioenergetics, leading to abnormalities in synaptic neurotransmission and cognitive function in a region-dependent fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2936-2950
Number of pages15
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Astrocyte DISC1 contributes to cognitive function in a brain region-dependent manner'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this