Schizophrenia-like behavioral impairments in mice with suppressed expression of piccolo in the medial prefrontal cortex

Atsumi Nitta, Naotaka Izuo, Kohei Hamatani, Ryo Inagaki, Yuka Kusui, Kequan Fu, Takashi Asano, Youta Torii, Chikako Habuchi, Hirotaka Sekiguchi, Shuji Iritani, Shin Ichi Muramatsu, Norio Ozaki, Yoshiaki Miyamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Piccolo, a presynaptic cytomatrix protein, plays a role in synaptic vesicle trafficking in the presynaptic active zone. Certain single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the Piccolo-encoding gene PCLO are reported to be associated with mental disorders. However, a few studies have evaluated the relationship between Piccolo dysfunction and psychotic symptoms. Therefore, we investigated the neurophysiological and behavioral phenotypes in mice with Piccolo suppression in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Downregulation of Piccolo in the mPFC reduced regional synaptic proteins, accompanied with electrophysiological impairments. The Piccolo-suppressed mice showed an enhanced locomotor activity, impaired auditory prepulse inhibition, and cognitive dysfunction. These abnormal behaviors were partially ameliorated by the antipsychotic drug risperidone. Piccolo-suppressed mice received mild social defeat stress showed additional behavioral despair. Furthermore, the responses of these mice to extracellular glutamate and dopamine levels induced by the optical activation of mPFC projection in the dorsal striatum (dSTR) were inhibited. Similarly, the Piccolo-suppressed mice showed decreased depolarization-evoked glutamate and -aminobutyric acid elevations and increased depolarization-evoked dopamine elevation in the dSTR. These suggest that Piccolo regulates neurotransmission at the synaptic terminal of the projection site. Reduced neuronal connectivity in the mPFC-dSTR pathway via suppression of Piccolo in the mPFC may induce behavioral impairments observed in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number607
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul


  • Dorsal striatum
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Optogenetics
  • Piccolo
  • Presynaptic cytomatrix protein
  • Schizophrenia


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