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Behav Brain Res. 2004 Apr 2;150(1-2):25-32.

Anxiety-related behaviour in C57BL/6 <--> BALB/c chimeric mice.

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Department of Psychology, Section of Neuroscience, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Via dei Marsi 78, I-00185 Rome, Italy.


In a previous study on anxiety-related behaviours of the genetically and behaviourally distant inbred mouse strains C57BL/6 and BALB/c using the Elevated plus-maze (EPM) and Open-field (OF) apparatuses, we identified a number of variables, the factorial scores of which were grouped by principal component analysis (PCA) into factors specifically describing each inbred strain. We have now studied the effect of C57BL/6 and BALB/c haploid sets of genes on this behaviour by comparing EPM and OF variables of C57BL/6 and BALB/c versus C57BL/6 x BALB/c F1 hybrids (B6CBF1) and chimeric C57BL/6 x BALB/c (CHIM) mice. CHIM mice were made by embryo aggregation and the chimerism degree of their brain was inferred from coat black/white distribution. Discriminant analysis of EPM and OF factorial scores of C57BL/6, BALB/c and CHIM mice showed that CHIM mice with an exceeding (> or =80%) C57BL/6 or BALB/c coat component had behaviours similar to those of the predominant strain, whereas CHIM mice with intermediate chimerism differed from both inbred strains. Additional MANOVA analysis showed that the anxiety behaviour of CHIM mice with intermediate chimerism was similar to that of B6CBF1 mice as for factors not describing the inbred strains, including a motor activity mostly limited to protected areas, with attempts to approach the anxiogenic areas while processing/storing the external information. We conclude that the balanced presence of both C57BL/6 and BALB/c genetic backgrounds, either when carried by the same cell or by different cells, gives rise to a novel stress coping strategy described by factors different from those of the inbred strains.

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