Neurobiology of cognitive remediation in schizophrenia: Effects of EAAT2 polymorphism

M Spangaro, M Bosia, Margherita Bechi, M Buonocore, F Cocchi, Carmelo Guglielmino, L Bianchi, A Mastromatteo, C Lorenzi, R Cavallaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive deficits represent core features of schizophrenia, affecting quality of life and functioning. The excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2) is responsible for the majority of glutamate reuptake and its activity is crucial for glutamatergic neurotransmission, prevention of excitotoxic damage and cerebral metabolism. Different studies reported that EAAT2 rs4354668 (−181 T/G) influences cognitive functions and brain structures in patients with schizophrenia. Specifically, the G allele, linked to lower EAAT2 expression, was associated with impaired prefrontal cognitive performance and reduced grey matter volumes. Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) is one of the best available tool to treat cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, able to induce a neuroplastic modulation of cognitive functions. The present study aims to investigate the effects of rs4354668 on CRT outcome, also considering possible genotype interaction with antipsychotic (AP) treatment, since EAAT2 expression is negatively influenced by clozapine. We examined rs4354668 in 88 clinically stabilized patients with schizophrenia, treated with CRT and assessed at enrolment, at the end of CRT and after 3 months. We observed greater working memory improvements among patients carrying the T/T genotype, regardless of AP treatment. Moreover, we reported a significant interaction between pharmacological treatment and rs4354668 on executive functions, with greater improvements among T/T patients treated with APs other than clozapine. These observations suggest that impaired EAAT2 expression may attenuate CRT outcome. Moreover, our results indicate the possibility that rs4354668 could also differentially influence the response to CRT depending on the AP treatment. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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