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Brain Res. 2008 Jan 10;1188:241-53. Epub 2007 Oct 23.

Progression of multiple behavioral deficits with various ages of onset in a murine model of Hurler syndrome.

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Molecular and Gene Therapy Program, Division of Experimental Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation, Cincinnati, OH 45249, USA.


Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) is one of the most common lysosomal storage diseases with progressive neurological dysfunction. To characterize the chronological behavioral profiles and identify the onset of functional deficits in a MPS I mouse model (IDUA(-/-)), we evaluated anxiety, locomotor behavior, startle, spatial learning and memory with mice at 2, 4, 6 and 8 months of age. In automated open-field test, IDUA(-/-) mice showed hypoactivity as early as 2 months of age and altered anxiety starting from 6 months of age during the initial exploratory phase, even though normal habituation was observed at all ages. In the marble-burying task, the anxiety-like compulsive behavior was normal in IDUA(-/-) mice at almost all tested ages, but significantly reduced in 8-month old male IDUA(-/-) mice which coincided with the rapid death of IDUA(-/-) males starting from 7 months of age. In the Morris water maze, IDUA(-/-) mice exhibited impaired proficient learning only at 4 months of age during the acquisition phase. Spatial memory deficits were observed in IDUA(-/-) mice during both 1 and 7 days probe trials at 4 and 8 months of age. The IDUA(-/-) mice performed normally in a novel object recognition task at younger ages until 8 months old when reduced visual cognitive memory retention was noted in the IDUA(-/-) mice. In addition, 8-month-old IDUA(-/-) mice failed to habituate to repeated open-field exposure, suggesting deficits in non-aversive and non-associative memory. In acoustic startle assessment, significantly more non-responders were found in IDUA(-/-) mice, but normal performance was seen in those that did show a response. These results presented a temporal evaluation of phenotypic behavioral dysfunctions in IDUA(-/-) mice from adolescence to maturity, indicating the impairments, with different ages of onset, in locomotor and anxiety-like compulsive behaviors, spatial learning and memory, visual recognition and short-term non-associative memory retention. This study would also provide guidelines for the experimental designs of behavioral evaluation on innovative therapies for the treatment of MPS type I.

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