Background: Changes in levels of substance P and substance P-binding sites have been implicated in schizophrenia. However, no studies have used receptor-specific antibodies to directly investigate the substance P (neurokinin 1) receptor in schizophrenia. Methods: We used an antibody directed against the human neurokinin-1 receptor to compare the distribution of neurokinin-1 receptors in the prefrontal cortices from six subjects with schizophrenia and six control subjects, matched for age, gender, and postmortem interval. Results: In control tissue, dots of neurokinin-1 receptor immunoreactivity were observed in layer I to upper/mid layer III only. In contrast, dots of neurokinin-1 receptor immunoreactivity were observed in all layers of the prefrontal cortex in subjects with schizophrenia, and the density of dots was significantly greater than in control subjects. Conclusions: This is the first report of increased neurokinin-1 receptor immunoreactivity in the prefrontal cortex in subjects with schizophrenia. These changes may have implications for understanding the pathophysiology of the prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia and for the treatment of this disorder.
Biological Psychiatry Vol. 49, Issue 6, p. 523-527