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Cadherin-13, a risk gene for ADHD and comorbid disorders, impacts GABAergic function in hippocampus and cognition

Rivero, O., Selten, M. M., Sich, S., Popp, S., Bacmeister, L., Amendola, E., Negwer, M., Schubert, D., Proft, F., Kiser, D., Schmitt, A. G., Gross, C., Kolk, S. M., Strekalova, T., van den Hove, D., Resink, T. J., Nadif Kasri, N., & Lesch, K. P. (2015). Cadherin-13, a risk gene for ADHD and comorbid disorders, impacts GABAergic function in hippocampus and cognition. Translational Psychiatry, 5: e655. doi:10.1038/tp.2015.152.
Cadherin-13 (CDH13), a unique glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored member of the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules, has been identified as a risk gene for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and various comorbid neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, including depression, substance abuse, autism spectrum disorder and violent behavior, while the mechanism whereby CDH13 dysfunction influences pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders remains elusive. Here we explored the potential role of CDH13 in the inhibitory modulation of brain activity by investigating synaptic function of GABAergic interneurons. Cellular and subcellular distribution of CDH13 was analyzed in the murine hippocampus and a mouse model with a targeted inactivation of Cdh13 was generated to evaluate how CDH13 modulates synaptic activity of hippocampal interneurons and behavioral domains related to psychopathologic (endo)phenotypes. We show that CDH13 expression in the cornu ammonis (CA) region of the hippocampus is confined to distinct classes of interneurons. Specifically, CDH13 is expressed by numerous parvalbumin and somatostatin-expressing interneurons located in the stratum oriens, where it localizes to both the soma and the presynaptic compartment. Cdh13−/− mice show an increase in basal inhibitory, but not excitatory, synaptic transmission in CA1 pyramidal neurons. Associated with these alterations in hippocampal function, Cdh13−/− mice display deficits in learning and memory. Taken together, our results indicate that CDH13 is a negative regulator of inhibitory synapses in the hippocampus, and provide insights into how CDH13 dysfunction may contribute to the excitatory/inhibitory imbalance observed in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism.
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