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Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 29;4:e416. doi: 10.1038/tp.2014.55.

Cerebellar Purkinje cell p75 neurotrophin receptor and autistic behavior.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA.

Erratum in

  • Transl Psychiatry. 2014;4:e476.


The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) is normally expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells throughout the lifespan. Children with autism spectrum behavior exhibit apparent cerebellar Purkinje cell loss. Cerebellar transcriptome changes seen in the murine prenatal valproate exposure model of autism include all of the proteins known to constitute the p75NTR interactome. p75NTR is a modulator of cytoplasmic and mitochondrial redox potential, and others have suggested that aberrant response to oxidant stress has a major role in the pathogenesis of autism. We have created Purkinje cell-selective p75NTR knockout mice that are the progeny of hemizygous Cre-Purkinje cell protein 2 C57Bl mice and p75NTR floxed C57Bl mice. These Cre-loxP mice exhibit complete knockout of p75NTR in ~50% of the cerebellar Purkinje cells. Relative to Cre-only mice and wild-type C57Bl mice, this results in a behavioral phenotype characterized by less allogrooming of (P<0.05; one-way analysis of variance) and socialization or fighting with (each P<0.05) other mice; less (1.2-fold) non-ambulatory exploration of their environment than wild-type (P<0.01) or Cre only (P<0.01) mice; and almost twofold more stereotyped jumping behavior than wild-type (P<0.05) or Cre (P<0.02) mice of the same strain. Wild-type mice have more complex dendritic arborization than Cre-loxP mice, with more neurites per unit area (P<0.025, Student's t-test), more perpendicular branches per unit area (P<0.025) and more short branches/long neurite (P<0.0005). Aberrant developmental regulation of expression of p75NTR in cerebellar Purkinje cells may contribute to the pathogenesis of autism.

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