Schizophrenia has been proposed to have a neurodevelopmental aetiology. Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule 1 (NCAM1) is involved in several neurodevelopmental processes and abnormal expression of this gene has been associated in the pathology of schizophrenia and, thus, altered NCAM1 expression may be characteristic of the early stages of the illness. Alternative splicing of the NCAM1 transcript produces 3 major isoforms. Using qPCR we analysed mRNA expression of one of these isoforms; the 180 kDa isoform of NCAM1 (NCAM-180), in Brodmann Area (BA) 46, BA10 and BA17, post-mortem, from 15 subjects with a short duration of illness of schizophrenia (< 7 years) and 15 control subjects. NCAM-180 mRNA expression was increased in BA46 from subjects with schizophrenia compared to controls (p = 0.013). By contrast, there were no significant differences in the expression of NCAM-180 mRNA in BA10 (p = 0.575) or BA17 (p = 0.772). We then analysed NCAM-180 mRNA expression in BA46 from 15 subjects with a longer duration of illness of schizophrenia (> 22 years) and 15 controls. There was no significant difference in NCAM-180 mRNA expression in this second cohort. This data suggests NCAM-180 mRNA expression is altered in a regionally-specific manner in schizophrenia and these changes are associated with the early period following diagnosis.
- Brodmann's Area 46
- Prefrontal cortex