Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) is a growth factor involved in neurodevelopment and plasticity. It is a schizophrenia candidate gene, and hippocampal expression of the NRG1 type I isoform is increased in the disorder. We have studied transgenic mice overexpressing NRG1 type I (NRG1(tg-type I)) and their wild-type littermates and measured hippocampal electrophysiological and behavioral phenotypes. Young NRG1(tg-type I) mice showed normal memory performance, but in older NRG1(tg-type I) mice, hippocampus-dependent spatial working memory was selectively impaired. Hippocampal slice preparations from NRG1(tg-type I) mice exhibited a reduced frequency of carbachol-induced gamma oscillations and an increased tendency to epileptiform activity. Long-term potentiation in NRG1(tg-type I) mice was normal. The results provide evidence that NRG1 type I impacts on hippocampal function and circuitry. The effects are likely mediated via inhibitory interneurons and may be relevant to the involvement of NRG1 in schizophrenia. However, the findings, in concert with those from other genetic and pharmacological manipulations of NRG1, emphasize the complex and pleiotropic nature of the gene, even with regard to a single isoform.
1520 - 1529