Genetically Predicted Brain C4A Expression Is Associated With TSPO and Hippocampal Morphology.

TitleGenetically Predicted Brain C4A Expression Is Associated With TSPO and Hippocampal Morphology.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsDa Silva T, Guma E, Hafizi S, Koppel A, Rusjan P, Kennedy JL, Chakravarty MM, Mizrahi R
JournalBiol Psychiatry
Volume90
Issue9
Pagination652-660
Date Published2021 11 01
ISSN1873-2402
KeywordsBrain, Hippocampus, Humans, Microglia, Positron-Emission Tomography, Psychotic Disorders, Pyridines, Receptors, GABA
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Alterations in the immune system, particularly C4A, have been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. C4A promotes synapse elimination by microglia in preclinical models; however, it is unknown whether this process is also present in living humans and how it affects brain morphology.METHODS: Participants (N = 111; 33 patients with psychosis, 37 individuals at clinical high risk, and 41 healthy control subjects) underwent a TSPO [F]FEPPA positron emission tomography scan and a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Brain C4A expression was genetically predicted as a function of the dosage of each of 4 structural elements (C4AL, C4BL, C4AS, C4BS).RESULTS: Higher genetically predicted brain C4A expression was associated with higher brain microglial marker (TSPO) and altered hippocampal morphology, including reduced surface area and medial displacement in the CA1 area. This study is the first to quantify genetically predicted brain C4A expression in individuals at clinical high risk, showing significantly lower C4A in individuals at clinical high risk compared with healthy control subjects. We also showed a robust effect of sex on genetically predicted brain C4A expression and effects of both sex and cannabis use on brain TSPO.CONCLUSIONS: This study shows for the first time complement system (C4A) coupling with a microglial marker (TSPO) and hippocampal morphology in living human brain. These findings pave the way for future research on the interaction between C4A and glial cell function, which has the potential to inform the disease mechanism underlying psychosis and schizophrenia.

DOI10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.06.021
Alternate JournalBiol Psychiatry
PubMed ID34456009
Grant ListR01 MH100043 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States