Prodynorphin mRNA expression is increased in the patch vs matrix compartment of the caudate nucleus in suicide subjects

Y. L. Hurd, M. M. Herman, T. M. Hyde, L. B. Bigelow, D. R. Weinberger, J. E. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Experimental and clinical studies suggest an involvement of the opioid neuropeptide system in psychiatric disorders. Notably, opioid peptide immunoreactivity is altered in the cerebrospinal fluid of chronic schizophrenics and manic-depressive subjects. Despite these clinical findings, few postmortem investigations have examined the association of endogenous opioid neuropeptides with schizophrenia and suicide. Anatomically, a tight interaction exists within the neostriatum between the opioid peptide (dynorphin and enkephalin) system and classical neurotransmitters such as dopamine which has been implicated in both the psychotic symptoms and the cognitive deficits that characterize schizophrenia (see review). The neostriatum is differentially organized into patch and matrix neurochemical mosaic compartments anatomically connected to limbic- and sensorimotor-related brain regions, respectively. Moreover, the human neostriatum is characterized by a heterogenous expression of the prodynorphin opioid gene: high in the patch, but low in the matrix compartment. The present results show for the first time a differential alteration of prodynorphin within distinct striatal compartments in postmortem tissue from nonschizophrenic suicide subjects, The prodynorphin patch/matrix mRNA expression was elevated in the caudate nucleus of suicide subjects as compared to normal controls and schizophrenics in which no alterations in opioid peptides or D1 and D2 mRNA expression were apparent. Altogether the findings suggest that discrete dysfunction of the endogenous opioid dynorphin system might contribute to depression and the risk of suicide in nonschizophrenic subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Enkephalin
  • Human
  • In situ hybridization
  • Limbic
  • Opioid neuropeptides
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology


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