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Letters to the Editor   |    
CACNA1C Risk Allele for Psychotic Disorders is Related to the Activation of the AKT-Pathway
Zsolt Balog, PH.D.; Imre Kiss, M.D.; Szabolcs Kéri, PH.D., D.Sc.
Am J Psychiatry 2010;167:1276-1277. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.10040635
View Author and Article Information
Budapest, Hungary

accepted for publication in June 2010

The authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Supported by OTKA grant NF72488.

This study was conducted at the National Psychiatry Center, Budapest, Hungary, and the University of Szeged, Department of Physiology, Szeged, Hungary

Accepted June , 2010.

Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

To the Editor: Genome-wide association studies have revealed a significant relationship between mood disorders, schizophrenia, and a variant in the CACNA1C gene (rs1006737, A/G) (1). This gene encodes the alpha subunit of the L-type voltage-dependent calcium channel (CAv1.2), and the risk variant is related to gray matter volume (2) and brain activation (3) in healthy individuals. However, the molecular correlates of the polymorphism are unknown. Recent evidence suggests that signals stemming from calcium channels modulate the activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase- protein kinase B (PI3K-PKB/Akt) intracellular messenger pathway (4), which may be an important convergence point of several molecular factors in the pathophysiology of mood disorders and schizophrenia (57).

In the present study, we investigated the relationship between rs1006737 and the activation of the PI3K-PKB/Akt pathway. Participants were 100 healthy volunteers of Central-Eastern European descent with a negative family history for schizophrenia and major mood disorders (mean age: 43.1 years [SD=6.7]; mean education: 12.2 years [SD=4.6]; female: N=47). The rs1006737 genotype was determined by a TaqMan assay (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, Calif.), as described previously (1). The activation of the PI3K-PKB/Akt pathway was determined from peripheral lymphoblasts by measuring phosphorylation at Ser473 using an immunoblot assay (6). The phosphorylated form/total ratio of Akt (pAkt/Akt) was analyzed as a function of genotype (AA, AG, and GG; no significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium).

Results revealed a significant effect of genotype on the pAkt/Akt ratio, which was lowest in the AA risk variant and highest in the GG nonrisk variant (AA [N=9]: 0.16 [SD=0.10]; AG [N=38]: 0.19 [SD=0.12]; GG [N5=3]: 0.32 [SD=0.19]). A oneway analysis of variance revealed a significant main effect of genotype (F=8.55, df=1, 97, p<0.001; Scheffé's test: AA<GG, AG<GG, p<0.05). This suggests that the CACNA1C risk geno-type is associated with the lowest level of Akt-pathway activation. Intracellular calcium may be involved in Akt activation, and functional polymorphisms of the CACNA1C gene may have an influence on this process. Both mechanisms may be included in memory processes and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus (5, 8). However, at this time it is not known how rs1006737 affects CAv1.2 functions and whether this polymorphism is causally linked to mental disorders.

Green  EK;  Grozeva  D;  Jones  I;  Jones  L;  Kirov  G;  Caesar  S;  Gordon-Smith  K;  Fraser  C;  Forty  L;  Russell  E;  Hamshere  ML;  Moskvina  V;  Nikolov  I;  Farmer  A;  McGuffin  P;  Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium5;  Holmans  PA;  Owen  MJ;  O'Donovan  MC;  Craddock  N.  The bipolar disorder risk allele at CACNA1C also confers risk of recurrent major depression and of schizophrenia.  Mol Psychiatry 2009[Epub ahead of print, July 21, 2009]
 
Kempton  MJ;  Ruberto  G;  Vassos  E;  Tatarelli  R;  Girardi  P;  Collier  D;  Frangou  S:   Effects of the CACNA1C risk allele for bipolar disorder on cerebral gray matter volume in healthy individuals.  Am J Psychiatry 2009; 166:1413—1414
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Krug  A;  Nieratschker  V;  Markov  V;  Krach  S;  Jansen  A;  Zerres  K;  Eggermann  T;  Stöcker  T;  Shah  NJ;  Treutlein  J;  Mühleisen  TW;  Kircher  T:   Effect of CACNA1C rs1006737 on neural correlates of verbal fluency in healthy individuals.  Neuroimage 2010; 49:1831—1836
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Li  XQ;  Cao  W;  Li  T;  Zeng  AG;  Hao  LL;  Zhang  XN;  Mei  QB:   Amlodipine inhibits TNF-alpha production and attenuates cardiac dysfunction induced by lipopolysaccharide involving PI3K/Akt pathway.  Int Immunopharmacol 2009; 9:1032—1041
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Freyberg  Z;  Ferrando  SJ;  Javitch  JA:   Roles of the Akt/GSK-3 and Wnt signaling pathways in schizophrenia and antipsychotic drug action.  Am J Psychiatry 2010; 167:388—396
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Kéri  S;  Beniczky  S;  Kelemen  O:   Suppression of the P50 evoked response and neuregulin 1-induced Akt phosphorylation in first-episode schizophrenia.  Am J Psychiatry 2010; 167:444—450
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Seshadri  S;  Kamiya  A;  Yokota  Y;  Prikulis  I;  Kano  S;  Hayashi-Takagi  A;  Stanco  A;  Eom  TY;  Rao  S;  Ishizuka  K;  Wong  P;  Korth  C;  Anton  ES;  Sawa  A:   Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1 expression is regulated by beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme-1-neuregulin cascade.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2010; 107:5622—5627
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Moosmang  S;  Haider  N;  Klugbauer  N;  Adelsberger  H;  Langwieser  N;  Müller  J;  Stiess  M;  Marais  E;  Schulla  V;  Lacinova  L;  Goebbels  S;  Nave  KA;  Storm  DR;  Hofmann  F;  Kleppisch  T:   Role of hippocampal Cav1.2 Ca2+ channels in NMDA receptor-independent synaptic plasticity and spatial memory.  J Neurosci 2005; 25:9883—9892
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
References Container
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References

Green  EK;  Grozeva  D;  Jones  I;  Jones  L;  Kirov  G;  Caesar  S;  Gordon-Smith  K;  Fraser  C;  Forty  L;  Russell  E;  Hamshere  ML;  Moskvina  V;  Nikolov  I;  Farmer  A;  McGuffin  P;  Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium5;  Holmans  PA;  Owen  MJ;  O'Donovan  MC;  Craddock  N.  The bipolar disorder risk allele at CACNA1C also confers risk of recurrent major depression and of schizophrenia.  Mol Psychiatry 2009[Epub ahead of print, July 21, 2009]
 
Kempton  MJ;  Ruberto  G;  Vassos  E;  Tatarelli  R;  Girardi  P;  Collier  D;  Frangou  S:   Effects of the CACNA1C risk allele for bipolar disorder on cerebral gray matter volume in healthy individuals.  Am J Psychiatry 2009; 166:1413—1414
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Krug  A;  Nieratschker  V;  Markov  V;  Krach  S;  Jansen  A;  Zerres  K;  Eggermann  T;  Stöcker  T;  Shah  NJ;  Treutlein  J;  Mühleisen  TW;  Kircher  T:   Effect of CACNA1C rs1006737 on neural correlates of verbal fluency in healthy individuals.  Neuroimage 2010; 49:1831—1836
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Li  XQ;  Cao  W;  Li  T;  Zeng  AG;  Hao  LL;  Zhang  XN;  Mei  QB:   Amlodipine inhibits TNF-alpha production and attenuates cardiac dysfunction induced by lipopolysaccharide involving PI3K/Akt pathway.  Int Immunopharmacol 2009; 9:1032—1041
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Freyberg  Z;  Ferrando  SJ;  Javitch  JA:   Roles of the Akt/GSK-3 and Wnt signaling pathways in schizophrenia and antipsychotic drug action.  Am J Psychiatry 2010; 167:388—396
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Kéri  S;  Beniczky  S;  Kelemen  O:   Suppression of the P50 evoked response and neuregulin 1-induced Akt phosphorylation in first-episode schizophrenia.  Am J Psychiatry 2010; 167:444—450
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Seshadri  S;  Kamiya  A;  Yokota  Y;  Prikulis  I;  Kano  S;  Hayashi-Takagi  A;  Stanco  A;  Eom  TY;  Rao  S;  Ishizuka  K;  Wong  P;  Korth  C;  Anton  ES;  Sawa  A:   Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia-1 expression is regulated by beta-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme-1-neuregulin cascade.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2010; 107:5622—5627
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
Moosmang  S;  Haider  N;  Klugbauer  N;  Adelsberger  H;  Langwieser  N;  Müller  J;  Stiess  M;  Marais  E;  Schulla  V;  Lacinova  L;  Goebbels  S;  Nave  KA;  Storm  DR;  Hofmann  F;  Kleppisch  T:   Role of hippocampal Cav1.2 Ca2+ channels in NMDA receptor-independent synaptic plasticity and spatial memory.  J Neurosci 2005; 25:9883—9892
[CrossRef] | [PubMed]
 
References Container
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