Sex-Specific Differences in the Transcriptome of the Human Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Schizophrenia

Zhiqian Yu, Kazuko Ueno, Ryo Funayama, Mai Sakai, Naoki Nariai, Kaname Kojima, Yoshie Kikuchi, Xue Li, Chiaki Ono, Junpei Kanatani, Jiro Ono, Kazuya Iwamoto, Kenji Hashimoto, Kengo Kinoshita, Keiko Nakayama, Masao Nagasaki, Hiroaki Tomita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Schizophrenia presents clinical and biological differences between males and females. This study investigated transcriptional profiles in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) using postmortem data from the largest RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) database on schizophrenic cases and controls. Data for 154 male and 113 female controls and 160 male and 93 female schizophrenic cases were obtained from the CommonMind Consortium. In the RNA-seq database, the principal component analysis showed that sex effects were small in schizophrenia. After we analyzed the impact of sex-specific differences on gene expression, the female group showed more significantly changed genes compared with the male group. Based on the gene ontology analysis, the female sex-specific genes that changed were overrepresented in the mitochondrion, ATP (phosphocreatine and adenosine triphosphate)-, and metal ion-binding relevant biological processes. An ingenuity pathway analysis revealed that the differentially expressed genes related to schizophrenia in the female group were involved in midbrain dopaminergic and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurons and microglia. We used methylated DNA-binding domain-sequencing analyses and microarray to investigate the DNA methylation that potentially impacts the sex differences in gene transcription using a maternal immune activation (MIA) murine model. Among the sex-specific positional genes related to schizophrenia in the PFC of female offspring from MIA, the changes in the methylation and transcriptional expression of loci ACSBG1 were validated in the females with schizophrenia in independent postmortem samples by real-time PCR and pyrosequencing. Our results reveal potential genetic risks in the DLPFC for the sex-dependent prevalence and symptomology of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1098
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb


  • DNA methylation
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sex difference
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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