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Behav Brain Res. 2010 Jan 5;206(1):52-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2009.08.034. Epub 2009 Aug 29.

Behavioral validation of the Ts65Dn mouse model for Down syndrome of a genetic background free of the retinal degeneration mutation Pde6b(rd1).

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  • 1Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


The Ts65Dn mouse is the most studied and complete aneuploid model of Down syndrome (DS) widely available. As a model for human trisomy 21, these mice display many attractive features, including performance deficits in different behavioral tasks, alterations in synaptic plasticity and adult neurogenesis, motor dysfunction, and age-dependent cholinergic neurodegeneration. Currently, Ts65Dn mice are maintained on a genetic background that leads to blindness in about 25% of their offspring, because it segregates for the retinal degeneration 1 (Pde6b(rd1)) mutation of C3H/HeSnJ. This means that 25% of the mice have to be discarded in most experiments involving these animals, which is particularly problematic because the Ts65Dn stock has low reproductive performance. To circumvent this problem, we have bred the Ts65Dn extra chromosome many generations into a closely related genetic background that does not carry the Pde6b(rd1) mutation. Although the new genetic background is expected to be nearly identical to the original, differences in genetic background have the potential to alter mouse performance in certain behavioral tests. Therefore, we designed the present study primarily as a behavioral validation of Ts65Dn mice of the new background. We compared side-by-side their performance with that of Ts65Dn mice of the original background on the following set of assessments: (1) body length and weight; (2) 24-h locomotor activity; (3) the Morris water maze; (4) fear conditioning; and (5) grip strength. Except for very subtle differences on water maze performance, we found no significant differences between Ts65Dn mice on the two backgrounds in the measures assessed.

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