The group II metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 (mGluR3, mGlu3, GRM3): expression, function and involvement in schizophrenia.
Harrison PJ., Lyon L., Sartorius LJ., Burnet PWJ., Lane TA.
Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) comprise mGluR2 (mGlu2; encoded by GRM2) and mGluR3 (mGlu3; encoded by GRM3) and modulate glutamate neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity. Here we review the expression and function of mGluR3 and its involvement in schizophrenia. mGluR3 is expressed by glia and neurons in many brain regions and has a predominantly presynaptic distribution, consistent with its role as an inhibitory autoreceptor and heteroceptor. mGluR3 splice variants exist in human brain but are of unknown function. Differentiation of mGluR3 from mGluR2 has been problematic because of the lack of selective ligands and antibodies; the available data suggest particular roles for mGluR3 in long-term depression, in glial function and in neuroprotection. Some but not all studies find genetic association of GRM3 polymorphisms with psychosis, with the risk alleles also being associated with schizophrenia-related endophenotypes such as impaired cognition, cortical activation and glutamate markers. The dimeric form of mGluR3 may be reduced in the brain in schizophrenia. Finally, preclinical findings have made mGluR3 a putative therapeutic target, and now direct evidence for antipsychotic efficacy of a group II mGluR agonist has emerged from a randomised clinical trial in schizophrenia. Together these data implicate mGluR3 in aetiological, pathophysiological and pharmacotherapeutic aspects of the disorder.