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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1999 Aug 25;71(2):349-53.

Normal inhibitory avoidance learning and anxiety, but increased locomotor activity in mice devoid of PrP(C).

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Centro de Memória, Departamento de Bioquímica, ICBS, UFRGS (Campus da Saúde), Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Prions are the causative agents of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The transmissible agent (PrP(Sc)) is an abnormal form of PrP(C), a normal neuronal protein. The physiological role of PrP(C) remains unclear. In the present report, we evaluated behavioral parameters in Prnp(0/0) mice devoid of PrP(C). Prnp(0/0) mice showed normal short- and long-term retention of a step-down inhibitory avoidance task and normal behavior in an elevated plus maze test of anxiety. During a 5-min exploration of an open field, Prnp(0/0) mice showed normal number of rearings, defecation, and latency to initiate locomotion, but a significant increase in the number of crossings. The results suggest that Prnp(0/0) mice show normal fear-motivated memory, anxiety and exploratory behavior, and a slight increase in locomotor activity during exploration of a novel environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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