Cynthia Shannon Weickert

Learn More
Genetic variation in neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is associated with schizophrenia. The disease-associated SNPs are noncoding, and their functional implications remain unknown. We hypothesized that differential expression of the NRG1 gene explains its association to the disease. We examined four of the disease-associated SNPs that make up the original risk haplotype(More)
Anatomical and molecular abnormalities of excitatory neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) are found in schizophrenia. We hypothesized that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein capable of increasing pyramidal neuron spine density and augmenting synaptic efficacy of glutamate, may be abnormally expressed in the DLPFC of(More)
Genetic linkage and association have implicated neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) as a schizophrenia susceptibility gene. We measured mRNA expression levels of the three major isoforms of NRG-1 (ie type I, type II, and type III) in the postmortem dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) from matched patients and controls using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Expression(More)
Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) is involved in the inactivation of catecholamines, including the neurotransmitter dopamine. A Val(108/158) Met functional polymorphism of the COMT gene has been shown to affect working memory-associated frontal lobe function in humans. In the present study, in situ hybridization histochemistry was employed to determine(More)
The neuregulin 1 (NRG1) receptor, ErbB4, has been identified as a potential risk gene for schizophrenia. HER4/ErbB4 is a receptor tyrosine kinase whose transcript undergoes alternative splicing in the brain. Exon 16 encodes isoforms containing a metalloprotease cleavable extracellular domain (JM-a), exon 15 for a cleavage resistant form (JM-b) and exon 26(More)
Upregulation of the immune response may be involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia with changes occurring in both peripheral blood and brain tissue. To date, microarray technology has provided a limited view of specific inflammatory transcripts in brain perhaps due to sensitivity issues. Here we used SOLiD Next Generation Sequencing to quantify(More)
BACKGROUND Studies of postmortem human brain are important for investigating underlying pathogenic molecular mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders. They are, however, confounded by pre- and postmortem factors. The purpose of this study was to identify sources of variation that will enable a better design of gene expression studies and higher reliability(More)
In development, timing is of the utmost importance, and the timing of developmental processes often changes as organisms evolve. In human evolution, developmental retardation, or neoteny, has been proposed as a possible mechanism that contributed to the rise of many human-specific features, including an increase in brain size and the emergence of(More)
Glucocorticoid receptors (GR) mediate the direct effects of glucocorticoids released in response to stress and the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system through a negative feedback mechanism. Individuals with major mental illness, who often exhibit hypercortisolemia, may have down-regulated levels of GR mRNA. In situ(More)
OBJECTIVE The onset of schizophrenia symptoms in late adolescence implies a neurodevelopmental trajectory for the disease. Indeed, the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibitory system shows protracted development, and GABA-ergic deficits are widely replicated in postmortem schizophrenia studies. The authors examined expression of several interneuron markers(More)