Abstract: Several lines of evidence indicate the involvement of neuroinflammatory processes in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (SCZ). Microglia are brain resident immune cells responding toward invading pathogens and injury-related products, and additionally, have a critical role in improving neurogenesis and synaptic functions. Hyperactivation of microglia in SCZ is one of the leading hypotheses for disease pathogenesis, but due to the lack of proper human cell models, the role of microglia in SCZ is not well studied. We used monozygotic twins discordant for SCZ and healthy individuals to generate human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived microglia to assess the transcriptional and functional differences in microglia between healthy controls, affected twins and unaffected twins. The microglia from affected twins had increased expression of several common inflammation-related genes, such as AIF1, HLA-DRA and IL1β compared to healthy individuals. Microglia from affected twins had also reduced response to IL1β treatment, but no significant differences in migration or phagocytotic activity. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) showed abnormalities related to extracellular matrix signaling. RNA sequencing predicted downregulation of extracellular matrix structure constituent GO terms and hepatic fibrosis pathway activation that were shared by microglia of both affected and unaffected twins, but the upregulation of MHC class II receptors was observed only in affected twin microglia. Also, the microglia of affected twins had heterogeneous response to clozapine, minocycline, and sulforaphane treatments. Overall, despite the increased expression of inflammatory genes, we observed no clear functional signs of hyperactivation in microglia from patients with SCZ. We conclude that microglia of the patients with SCZ have genetic aberrations related to inflammation response and extracellular matrix without contributing to microglia hyperactivation.

Journal Link: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-1980131/v1 Journal Link: Publisher Website Journal Link: Download PDF Journal Link: Google Scholar