Expression of glutamatergic genes in healthy humans across 16 brain regions; Altered expression in the hippocampus after chronic exposure to alcohol or cocaine

M. A. Enoch, A. A. Rosser, Z. Zhou, D. C. Mash, Q. Yuan, D. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyzed global patterns of expression in genes related to glutamatergic neurotransmission (glutamatergic genes) in healthy human adult brain before determining the effects of chronic alcohol and cocaine exposure on gene expression in the hippocampus. RNA-Seq data from 'BrainSpan' was obtained across 16 brain regions from nine control adults. We also generated RNA-Seq data from postmortem hippocampus from eight alcoholics, eight cocaine addicts and eight controls. Expression analyses were undertaken of 28 genes encoding glutamate ionotropic (AMPA, kainate, NMDA) and metabotropic receptor subunits, together with glutamate transporters. The expression of each gene was fairly consistent across the brain with the exception of the cerebellum, the thalamic mediodorsal nucleus and the striatum. GRIN1, encoding the essential NMDA subunit, had the highest expression across all brain regions. Six factors accounted for 84% of the variance in global gene expression. GRIN2B (encoding GluN2B), was up-regulated in both alcoholics and cocaine addicts (FDR corrected P=0.008). Alcoholics showed up-regulation of three genes relative to controls and cocaine addicts: GRIA4 (encoding GluA4), GRIK3 (GluR7) and GRM4 (mGluR4). Expression of both GRM3 (mGluR3) and GRIN2D (GluN2D) was up-regulated in alcoholics and down-regulated in cocaine addicts relative to controls. Glutamatergic genes are moderately to highly expressed throughout the brain. Six factors explain nearly all the variance in global gene expression. At least in the hippocampus, chronic alcohol use largely up-regulates glutamatergic genes. The NMDA GluN2B receptor subunit might be implicated in a common pathway to addiction, possibly in conjunction with the GABAB1 receptor subunit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-768
Number of pages11
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Alcoholism
  • GABAB1 receptor subunit
  • GABBR1
  • GRIA4
  • GRIK3
  • GRIN2B
  • GRIN2D
  • GRM3
  • GRM4
  • NMDA receptors
  • RNA-Seq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Genetics
  • Neurology

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