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Behav Pharmacol. 2008 May;19(3):217-24. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e3282feb099.

Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta heterozygote knockout mice as a model of findings in postmortem schizophrenia brain or as a model of behaviors mimicking lithium action: negative results.

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Stanley Research Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.


In mice glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3beta heterozygote knockout status was reported to cause reduced immobility in the Porsolt forced swim test and reduced amphetamine-induced hyperactivity, behaviors that mimic the effects of lithium. GSK-3beta protein and mRNA level and activity have been reported to be reduced in the postmortem brain of schizophrenia patients and this could suggest the involvement of GSK-3beta in the etiology of schizophrenia. However, apomorphine-induced stereotyping was reported to be unchanged in GSK-3beta heterozygote (HZ) knockout (KO) mice. As such behaviors are not always robust, study in another laboratory seemed indicated. Motor activity and coordination were assessed in the rotarod test. Behavior was studied in the following tests: pilocarpine-induced seizures model for lithium action, Porsolt forced swim test, tail suspension test, elevated plus-maze, large open field, startle response and prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle response, amphetamine-induced hyperactivity, and apomorphine-induced stereotypic climbing. We could not confirm the report that GSK-3beta HZ KO mice exhibit reduced immobility in the Porsolt forced swim or reduced amphetamine-induced hyperactivity in a manner mimicking the behavioral effects of lithium. We did not find increased apomorphine-induced stereotypic climbing or disruption of prepulse inhibition, suggesting that human postmortem findings regarding GSK-3beta in schizophrenia are not mediated by changes in dopamine receptors and are not the cause of prepulse inhibition deficits in schizophrenia. These data do not support the role of GSK-3beta in schizophrenia or in the mechanism of therapeutic action of lithium. Although differences in the genetic background of the GSK-3beta HZ KOs used in the present study compared with that of the previous study could be responsible, such results could suggest that the previously reported effects of GSK-3beta knockout on behavior are not robust.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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