Knockdown of mortalin within the medial prefrontal cortex impairs normal sensorimotor gating
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The 70-kDa mitochondrial heat shock protein, mortalin, is a ubiquitously expressed, multifunctional protein that is capable of binding the neurotransmitter, dopamine, within the brain. Dopamine dysregulation has been implicated in many of the abnormal neurological behaviors. Although studies have indicated that mortalin is differentially regulated in response to dopaminergic modulation, research has yet to elucidate the role of mortalin in the regulation of dopaminergic activity. This study seeks to investigate the role of mortalin in the regulation of dopamine-dependent behavior, specifically as it pertains to schizophrenia (SCZ). Mortalin expression was knocked down through the infusion of antisense oligodeoxynucleotide molecules into the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Rats infused with mortalin antisense oligodeoxynucleotide molecules exhibited significant prepulse inhibition deficits, suggestive of defects in normal sensorimotor gating. Furthermore, mortalin misexpression within the mPFC was coupled to a significant increase in mortalin protein expression within the nucleus accumbens at the molecular level. These findings demonstrate that mortalin plays an essential role in the regulation of dopamine-dependent behavior and plays an even greater role in the pathogenesis of SCZ.
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