Common proteomic changes in the hippocampus in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and particular evidence for involvement of cornu ammonis regions 2 and 3.

CONTEXT: The hippocampus is strongly implicated in schizophrenia and, to a lesser degree, bipolar disorder. Proteomic investigations of the different regions of the hippocampus may help us to clarify the basis and the disease specificity of the changes.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with distinct patterns of differential protein expression in specific regions of the hippocampus.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: A postmortem comparative proteomic study, including validation of differential expression, was performed. Midhippocampus samples from well-matched groups of 20 subjects with schizophrenia, 20 subjects with bipolar disorder, and 20 control cases from the Stanley Medical Research Institute Array Collection were analyzed.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We used laser-assisted microdissection to enrich for tissue from the hippocampal regions and 2-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis to compare protein profiles. Levels of differentially expressed proteins were confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting. Hippocampi from haloperidol-treated mice were used to help discriminate drug-associated from disease-associated protein changes.

RESULTS: Across all hippocampal regions, 108 protein spots in schizophrenia and 165 protein spots in bipolar disorder were differentially expressed compared with controls. Sixty-one proteins were differentially expressed in both disorders. One hundred fifty-two of these proteins were identified by mass spectrometry, and they implicated a range of different processes including cytoskeletal and metabolic functions. In both disorders, cornu ammonis regions 2 and 3 were affected to a significantly greater degree than other hippocampal regions. Additionally, numerous proteins showed expression changes in more than 1 region and more than 1 disorder. Validation work confirmed changes in septin 11 and in the expression of proteins involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, similar protein changes were observed in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and for the first time indicate that the most prominent proteomic changes occur within the hippocampus in cornu ammonis regions 2 and 3. The cytoskeletal protein septin 11 and the cellular trafficking process of clathrin-mediated endocytosis are implicated by our study.