Objective: To test the hypothesis that schizophrenia involves altered cholinergic tone in the pons, the authors studied post-mortem brain tissue from subjects with schizophrenia. Method: The authors used Western immunoblot to measure the concentration of choline acetyltransferase, an acetylcholine synthesizing enzyme, in the post-mortem brain tissue of 25 schizophrenic subjects and 28 nonschizophrenic comparison subjects. They also measured the concentration of glial fibrillary acidic protein, a protein from astrocytes, to examine the question of neurodegeneration. Results: The pontine choline acetyltransferase concentrations of the schizophrenic subjects were 46% lower than those of comparison subjects, a significant difference. Glial fibrillary acidic protein concentrations did not differ between the two groups. Conclusions: The lower concentration of choline acetyltransferase in the pontine tegmentum of schizophrenic subjects compared with comparison subjects suggests involvement of pontine cholinergic neurons in schizophrenia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health