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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Sep;217(1):143-51. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2276-6. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

Modulation of behavioral phenotypes by a muscarinic M1 antagonist in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChR) are G protein-coupled receptors, widely expressed in the CNS. Electrophysiological and molecular studies have provided evidence for overactive M1 receptor signaling in the fragile X knockout (Fmr1 KO) mouse model, suggesting the involvement of the M1 receptors in fragile X syndrome. Overactive signaling through the M1 receptor has been hypothesized to contribute to the phenotypes seen in fragile X mice.


We investigated the modulation of behavioral responses in the Fmr1 KO animals by reducing the activity through the muscarinic M1 receptor using the pharmacological agent dicyclomine, an M1 antagonist.


The behavioral assays used to investigate the pharmacological effects include marble burying (perseverative behavior), open-field exploration (activity), passive avoidance (learning and memory), prepulse inhibition (sensorimotor gating), and audiogenic seizures.


Data from the marble-burying assay suggests that treatment with dicyclomine results in a decrease in the number of marbles buried in the wild-type and in the KO animals. To examine the possibility of drug-induced sedation, overall activity was measured in an open-field chamber. Dicyclomine only increases activity at a dose of 20 mg/kg in the wild-type mice but did not affect exploration in the KO animals. Lastly, we observed that dicyclomine causes a significant decrease in the percentage of audiogenic seizures in the Fmr1 KO animals.


Our findings suggest that pharmacologically reducing the activity through the mAChR M1 alters select behavioral responses in the Fmr1 KO mice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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