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Keywords:

  • Antipsychotic;
  • brain imaging;
  • glycogen synthase kinase 3-β;
  • grey matter;
  • neuronal resilience;
  • schizophrenia

At the crossroad of multiple pathways regulating trophism and metabolism, glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)3 is considered a key factor in influencing the susceptibility of neurons to harmful stimuli (neuronal resilience) and is a target for several psychiatric drugs that directly inhibit it or increase its inhibitory phosphorylation. Inhibition of GSK3 prevents apoptosis and could protect against the neuropathological processes associated with psychiatric disorders. A GSK3-βpromoter single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs334558) influences transcriptional strength, and the less active form was associated with less detrimental clinical features of mood disorders. Here we studied the effect of rs334558 on grey matter volumes (voxel-based morphometry) of 57 patients affected by chronic schizophrenia. Carriers of the less active C allele variant showed significantly higher brain volumes in an area encompassing posterior regions of right middle and superior temporal gyrus, within the boundaries of Brodmann area 21. The temporal lobe is the brain parenchymal region with the most consistently documented morphometric abnormalities in schizophrenia, and neuropathological processes in these regions develop soon at the beginning of the illness. These results support the interest for GSK3-βas a factor affecting neuropathology in major behavioural disorders, such as schizophrenia, and thus as a possible target for treatment.