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Upper cortical layer-driven network impairment in schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is one of the most wide-spread and complex mental disorders. To characterize the impact of schizophrenia, we performed single nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) of >220,000 neurons from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia and matched controls. Additionally, >115,000 neurons were analyzed topographically by immunohistochemistry. Compositional analysis of snRNA-seq data revealed a reduction in abundance of GABAergic neurons and a concomitant increase in principal neurons, most pronounced for upper cortical layer subtypes, which was substantiated by histological analysis. Many neuronal subtypes showed extensive transcriptomic changes, the most dramatic - in upper layer GABAergic neurons, including downregulation in energy metabolism and upregulation in neurotransmission. Transcription factor network analysis demonstrated a developmental origin of transcriptomic changes. Finally, Visium spatial transcriptomics further corroborated upper layer neuron vulnerability in schizophrenia. Overall, our results point towards general network impairment within upper cortical layers as a core substrate associated with schizophrenia symptomatology. Study is available on bioRxiv ( and in upcoming publication.

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001009173 Illumina NovaSeq 6000 NextSeq 500 38
Publications Citations
Upper cortical layer-driven network impairment in schizophrenia.
Sci Adv 8: 2022 eabn8367