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Physiol Behav. 2015 Mar 15;141:120-6. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.01.012. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

Emotional disorders in adult mice heterozygous for the transcription factor Phox2b.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Biological Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium; INSERM, U1141, Hôpital Robert Debré, 75019 Paris, France.
2
INSERM, U1141, Hôpital Robert Debré, 75019 Paris, France; Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 75019 Paris, France.
3
Laboratory of Biological Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
4
Research Group on Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
5
INSERM, U1141, Hôpital Robert Debré, 75019 Paris, France; Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 75019 Paris, France. Electronic address: jorge.gallego@inserm.fr.

Abstract

Phox2b is an essential transcription factor for the development of the autonomic nervous system. Mice carrying one invalidated Phox2b allele (Phox2b(+/-)) show mild autonomic disorders including sleep apneas, and impairments in chemosensitivity and thermoregulation that recover within 10days of postnatal age. Because Phox2b is not expressed above the pons nor in the cerebellum, this mutation is not expected to affect brain development and cognitive functioning directly. However, the transient physiological disorders in Phox2b(+/-) mice might impair neurodevelopment. To examine this possibility, we conducted a behavioral test battery of emotional, motor, and cognitive functioning in adult Phox2b(+/-) mice and their wildtype littermates (Phox2b(+/+)). Adult Phox2b(+/-) mice showed altered exploratory behavior in the open field and in the elevated plus maze, both indicative of anxiety. Phox2b(+/-) mice did not show cognitive or motor impairments. These results suggest that also mild autonomic control deficits may disturb long-term emotional development.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Autonomic nervous system disorders; Postnatal development

PMID:
25582512
DOI:
10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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