Expression of Neuronal Calcium Sensor-1 (NCS-1) is Decreased in Leukocytes of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Patients


Torres, K. C. L., Souza, B. R., Miranda, D. M., Sampaio, A. M., Nicolato, R., Neves, F. S., … & Romano-Silva, M. A. (2009). Expression of neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS-1) is decreased in leukocytes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 33(2), 229-234.


Schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BPD) are severe illnesses representing an enormous social, familiar and individual burden that affect 1% of the population world-wide. Several evidences indicate abnormalities of the dopamine system in both SCZ and BPD. Neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS-1) is a protein that has many functions in neurotransmission such as inhibition of dopamine D2 receptor desensitization, regulation of ionic channels and enhancement of exocytosis of neurotransmitters. In addition, NCS-1 protein expression and mRNA levels were found increased in pre-frontal cortex (PFC) of SCZ and BPD patients. NCS-1 expression in neural and neuroendocrine cells is well documented and, recently, it was shown that NCS-1 is also expressed in mast cells and neutrophils. NCS-1 has important functions in mast cells since it stimulates Fc epsilon RI-triggered exocytosis and the release of arachidonic acid metabolites. Then, due to the known close relation between the nervous and immune systems, we sought to investigate the NCS-1 expression in lymphocytes and monocytes (CD4+ T lymphocytes, CD56+ NK cells, CD19+ B lymphocytes and CD14+ monocytes) of SCZ and BPD patients. Using flow cytometry, our results have shown that NCS-1 expression was diminished in CD4+T lymphocytes, CD19+ B lymphocytes and CD14+ monocytes of BPD patients and also decreased in CD4+ T lymphocytes and CD56+ NK cells of SCZ patients. Results suggest that immune cells might be a cellular model for studies with SCZ and BPD patients considering NCS-1 functions. Efforts need to be done to investigate the motive of the decreased percentage of immune cells expressing NCS-1 in patients with SCZ and BPD.

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