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Dev Neurosci. 2012;34(2-3):277-87. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Changes in object recognition and anxiety-like behaviour in mice expressing a Cx47 mutation that causes Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease.

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  • 1Institute of Experimental Psychology, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease is characterized by impaired psychomotor development, ataxia, progressive spasticity and mental retardation. It is induced by mutations in the gap junction gene GJC2 that encodes for the gap junction protein connexin 47. Mice bearing a human Cx47M283T missense mutation have been generated as a transgenic mouse model of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease. Homozygous expression of the mutant connexin 47 gene in oligodendrocytes resulted in a complex and variable neuropathologic phenotype, which was associated with impairments in motor coordination in juvenile, but not adult mice. In the present study, we have investigated anxiety-like behaviour and spatial working memory in juvenile (P23) and adult (3-month-old) Cx47M282T mutant mice. Adult Cx47M282T mice were also evaluated in terms of neuromotor functions and in the novel object recognition test. Juvenile Cx47M282T mutant mice exhibited an increase in anxiety-like behaviour in the open field test, but no changes in spatial working memory performance. No significant changes in anxiety-like behaviour, spatial working memory or neuromotor functions were observed in the adult Cx47M282T mutant mice. However, novel object recognition was significantly impaired in adult Cx47M282T mice. Our results suggest that the expression of the human Cx47M282T mutation in the mouse causes changes in anxiety-like behaviour in juvenile and novel object recognition impairments in adult mice. It appears that the distortion of panglial gap junction coupling in white and grey matter tissue in the Cx47M282T mice is associated with a complex age-dependent behavioural phenotype including changes in psychomotor, emotional and memory functions.

Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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