In the grey zone between epilepsy and schizophrenia : alterations in group II metabotropic glutamate receptors
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta neurologica Belgica. - Bruxelles
, p. 221-232
University of Antwerp
Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. The glutamate system plays an important role in the formation of synapses during brain development and synaptic plasticity. Dysfunctions in glutamate regulation may lead to hyperexcitatory neuronal networks and neurotoxicity. Glutamate excess is possibly of great importance in the pathophysiology of several neurological and psychiatric disorders such as epilepsy and schizophrenia. Interestingly, cross talk between these disorders has been well documented: psychiatric comorbidities are frequent in epilepsy and temporal lobe epilepsy is one of the highest risk factors for developing psychosis. Therefore, dysfunctions in glutamatergic neurotransmission might constitute a common pathological mechanism. A major negative feedback system is regulated by the presynaptic group II metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors including mGlu2/3 receptors. These receptors are predominantly localised extrasynaptically in basal ganglia and limbic structures. Hence, mGlu2/3 receptors are an interesting target for the treatment of disorders like epilepsy and schizophrenia. A dysfunction in the glutamate system may be associated with alterations in mGlu2/3 receptor expression. In this review, we describe the localization of mGlu2/3 receptors in the healthy brain of mice, rats and humans. Secondly, changes in mGlu2/3 receptor density of the brain regions affected in epilepsy and schizophrenia are summarised. Increased mGlu2/3 receptor density might represent a compensatory mechanism of the brain to regulate elevated glutamate levels, while reduced mGlu2/3 receptor density in some brain regions may further contribute to the aberrant hyperexcitability. Further research considering the mGlu2/3 receptor can contribute significantly to the understanding of the etiological and therapeutic role of group II mGlu receptor in epilepsy, epilepsy with psychosis and schizophrenia.