Calcineurin (CaN), also designated as protein phosphatase 2B, is a major Ca2+/calmodulin-binding protein in the brain and the only serine/threonine phosphatase under the control of Ca2+/calmodulin. CaN activity has been implicated in downstream regulation of dopaminergic signal transduction and in NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity. Thus, it serves as a point of convergence for the abnormalities of these two neurotransmitter systems in schizophrenia. The aim of the present study was to determine if levels of CaN were altered in two schizophrenia- and CaN-related brain regions - the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and hippocampus from subjects with schizophrenia compared to that in tissue from age and sex matched controls. CaN protein levels were measured by Western-blot analysis in samples from 15 schizophrenia patients vs. 15 control subjects. No significant differences in CaN protein levels were found either in the prefrontal cortex or in the hippocampus of schizophrenia patients compared to matched control subjects. Our result of lack of difference does not support the concept that brain CaN levels are a pathophysiological factor in this disorder. Further studies with antibodies against specific CaN catalytic subunit isoforms (presently unavailable) are required to resolve this issue.
- Postmortem brain
- Protein levels