Brain Behav Immun 2001 Dec


Brain Behav Immun 2001 Dec;15(4):388-400


Immunohistochemical Localization of Phosphorylated Glial Fibrillary Acidic

Protein in the Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus from Patients with

Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Depression

Webster MJ, Knable MB, Johnston-Wilson N, Nagata K, Inagaki M, Yolken RH


Increasingly, abnormalities of glial cell function have been implicated in

pathological studies of the major mental illnesses (schizophrenia, bipolar

disorder, and major depression).  In a recent proteomic study, four

isoforms of astrocytic glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were decreased in

one or more of these diseases.  In the current study, we sought to

determine the immunohistochemical localization of phosphorylated GFAP (pGFAP) in

the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus and to describe possible disease-related

changes in the distribution of pGFAP containing astrocytes.  In the

prefrontal cortex, interlaminar astrocytes in layer I and stellate astrocytes in

layers II and VI were labeled.  Labeled cells were also present adjacent to

blood vessels in the gyral white matter and in underlying white matter

generally. In the hippocampus, labeled cells were present in the polymorphic

layer of the dentate gyrus.  In the prefrontal cortex, schizophrenia and

major depression were characterized by decreased labeling of astrocytes adjacent

to blood vessels.  There were no significant differences between the

diagnostic groups in the other prefrontal layers or in the hippocampus. 

These results suggest that reduced numbers or functional regulation of pGFAP

containing astrocytes occurs in schizophrenia and major depression. The

mechanism by which this deficit occurs is not known, but it may adversely effect

the regulation of neuronal metabolism, communication, and response to injury.