Professor John McGrath

Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Australia, and Niels Bohr Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark 

Title:  Convergent evidence implicates vitamin D deficiency and voltage-gated calcium channel function in schizophrenia


Variants in voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) have been linked to risk of schizophrenia, as has prenatal vitamin D deficiency, known to be important in calcium homeostasis. In this talk I will provide a summary of recent research done in collaboration with colleagues at QBI and in Denmark that has investigated a mechanism that links these independent observations. We measured 25 hydroxyvitamin D in neonatal dried blood spots (n = 2602), and found that those in the lowest quintile of 25OHD concentration had a relative risk of schizophrenia of 1.44 (95%CI: 1.12-1.85) compared to the reference quintile. Using molecular, functional imaging and electrophysiological approaches, we demonstrate that the active form of vitamin D (1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D) induces rapid, non-genomic effects on calcium regulation in developing cortical neurons and brain. These include increased surface expression of L-type VGCCs in primary cortical neurons, and rapid-onset enhanced calcium influx in a subset of prefrontal cortex cortical neurons. Our findings provide convergent evidence that these epidemiological and genetic risk factors may operate via shared biological pathways.



About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium on Level 7 are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018