Journal of Neural Transmission | 2019

Pre-frontal parvalbumin interneurons in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of post-mortem studies



Parvalbumin interneurons are fast-spiking GABAergic neurons that provide inhibitory control of cortical and subcortical circuits and are thought to be a key locus of the pathophysiology underlying schizophrenia. In view of the contradictory results regarding the nature of parvalbumin post-mortem findings in schizophrenia, we conducted a quantitative meta-analysis of the data on parvalbumin cell density and parvalbumin mRNA levels in pre-frontal regions in the brains of patients with schizophrenia (n\u2009=\u2009274) compared with healthy controls (n\u2009=\u2009275). The results suggest that parvalbumin interneurons are reduced in density in the frontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia (Hedges’ g\u2009=\u2009−\u20090.27; p\u2009=\u20090.03) and there is a non-significant reduction in parvalbumin mRNA levels (g\u2009=\u2009−\u20090.44; p\u2009=\u20090.12). However, certain methodological issues need to be considered in interpreting such results and are discussed in more detail. A meta-regression was conducted for post-mortem interval and year of publication as covariates which were both non-significant, except in the mRNA meta-analysis where post-mortem interval was found to be significant. Overall our findings provide tentative support for the hypothesis that the GABAergic system is deficient in schizophrenia and that parvalbumin-containing interneurons offer a potential target for treatment. However, further well-controlled studies that examine multiple regions and layers are warranted to determine whether parvalbumin alterations are region or layer specific and to test the robustness of the findings further.

Volume 126
Pages 1637 - 1651
DOI 10.1007/s00702-019-02080-2
Language English
Journal Journal of Neural Transmission

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