Schizophrenia is an idiopathic psychiatric disorder with a high degree of polygenicity. Evidence from genetics, single-cell transcriptomics, and pharmacological studies suggest an important, but untested, overlap between genes involved in the etiology of schizophrenia and the cellular mechanisms of action of antipsychotics. To directly compare genes with antipsychotic-induced differential expression to genes involved in schizophrenia, we applied single-cell RNA-sequencing to striatal samples from male C57BL/6 J mice chronically exposed to a typical antipsychotic (haloperidol), an atypical antipsychotic (olanzapine), or placebo. We identified differentially expressed genes in three cell populations identified from the single-cell RNA-sequencing (medium spiny neurons [MSNs], microglia, and astrocytes) and applied multiple analysis pipelines to contextualize these findings, including comparison to GWAS results for schizophrenia. In MSNs in particular, differential expression analysis showed that there was a larger share of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) from mice treated with olanzapine compared with haloperidol. DEGs were enriched in loci implicated by genetic studies of schizophrenia, and we highlighted nine genes with convergent evidence. Pathway analyses of gene expression in MSNs highlighted neuron/synapse development, alternative splicing, and mitochondrial function as particularly engaged by antipsychotics. In microglia, we identified pathways involved in microglial activation and inflammation as part of the antipsychotic response. In conclusion, single-cell RNA sequencing may provide important insights into antipsychotic mechanisms of action and links to findings from psychiatric genomic studies.
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These data have been deposited in GEO under accession GSE171977.
Code for differential gene expression analysis have been deposited to Github and will be made available upon request.
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We thank Dr. Jens Hjerling-Leffler for assistance with experimental design and analysis, Dr. James Crowley for technical assistance, and Sydney Clarkin and Maureen Eberle for literature evaluation support. Thanks to the Translational Genomics Laboratory at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Dr. Sullivan reports the following potentially competing financial interests: Lundbeck A/G (advisory committee, grant recipient) and Neumora (advisory committee, shareholder). Dr. Hultman reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Stuber reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Basiri reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Ms. Sekle reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Ms. Ancalade reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Giusti-Rodriguez reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest. Mr. Abrantes reported no biomedical financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.
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Abrantes, A., Giusti-Rodriguez, P., Ancalade, N. et al. Gene expression changes following chronic antipsychotic exposure in single cells from mouse striatum. Mol Psychiatry 27, 2803–2812 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-022-01509-7