While altered expression of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) type receptor has been reported in postmortem studies of schizophrenia, these findings are inconsistent. Therefore, we aimed to systematically review postmortem studies that investigated AMPA receptor expressions in schizophrenia.
A systematic literature search was conducted for postmortem studies that measured AMPA receptor subunit expressions or receptor bindings in schizophrenia compared to healthy individuals on February 3, 2021, using Medline and Embase.
A total of 39 relevant articles were identified from 1360 initial reports. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was the most investigated region (15 studies), followed by the medial temporal lobe (8 studies). For the DLPFC, 4/15 studies (26.7%) showed increased AMPA receptor binding or subunit expression in patients with schizophrenia compared to that in controls, especially in GRIA1 and GRIA4, 2/15 studies (13.3%) reported a decrease, particularly in GRIA2, and 8/15 studies (56.7%) found no significant differences. A decreased expression or receptor binding was observed in 6/8 studies (75.0%) in the subregions of the hippocampus in patients with schizophrenia compared to that in controls, whereas the other two studies found no significant differences.
Published data have reported decreased subunit expression or receptor binding in the hippocampus in schizophrenia. These findings were inconsistent in other brain regions, which might be due to the heterogeneity of this population, various study design, physiological changes after death, and limited number of studies. Future in vivo studies are warranted to examine AMPA receptor expressions in human brains, together with their comprehensive clinical characterization.

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