Calcyon upregulation in adolescence impairs response inhibition and working memory in adulthood

A. Vazdarjanova, K. Bunting, N. Muthusamy, C. Bergson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Calcyon regulates activity-dependent internalization of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA) glutamate receptors and long-term depression of excitatory synapses. Elevated levels of calcyon are consistently observed in brains from schizophrenic patients, and the calcyon gene is associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Executive function deficits are common to both disorders, and at least for schizophrenia, the etiology appears to involve both heritable and neurodevelopmental factors. Here, we show with calcyon-overexpressing Cal OE transgenic mice that lifelong calcyon upregulation impairs executive functions including response inhibition and working memory, without producing learning and memory deficits in general. As response inhibition and working memory, as well as the underlying neural circuitry, continue to mature into early adulthood, we functionally silenced the transgene during postnatal days 28-49, a period corresponding to adolescence. Remarkably, the response inhibition and working memory deficits including perseverative behavior were absent in adult CalOE mice with the transgene silenced in adolescence. Suppressing the calcyon transgene in adulthood only partially rescued the deficits, suggesting calcyon upregulation in adolescence irreversibly alters development of neural circuits supporting mature response inhibition and working memory. Brain regional immunoblots revealed a prominent downregulation of AMPA GluR1 subunits in hippocampus and GluR2/3 subunits in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the CalOE mice. Silencing the transgene in adolescence prevented the decrease in hippocampal GluR1, further implicating altered fronto-hippocampal connectivity in the executive function deficits observed in the CalOE mice. Treatments that mitigate the effects of high levels of calcyon during adolescence could preempt adult deficits in executive functions in individuals at risk for serious mental illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-684
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • ADHD
  • executive functions
  • fear conditioning
  • mice
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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