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Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Sep 12;11(17):6638-6656. doi: 10.18632/aging.102141. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

Dlx5 and Dlx6 expression in GABAergic neurons controls behavior, metabolism, healthy aging and lifespan.

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Physiologie Moléculaire et Adaptation, CNRS UMR7221, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département AVIV, Paris, France.
Unité de Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative (BFA), Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CNRS UMR 8251, Paris, France.
Team "Gene Regulation and Adaptive Behaviors", Neurosciences Paris Seine, INSERM U 1130, CNRS UMR 8246, Paris, France.
BioImage Analysis Unit, Institut Pasteur, CNRS UMR 3691, Paris, France.
Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions, Institute Pasteur, CNRS UMR 3571, Paris, France.


Dlx5 and Dlx6 encode two homeobox transcription factors expressed by developing and mature GABAergic interneurons. During development, Dlx5/6 play a role in the differentiation of certain GABAergic subclasses. Here we address the question of the functional role of Dlx5/6 in the mature central nervous system. First, we demonstrate that Dlx5 and Dlx6 are expressed by all subclasses of adult cortical GABAergic neurons. Then we analyze VgatΔDlx5-6 mice in which Dlx5 and Dlx6 are simultaneously inactivated in all GABAergic interneurons. VgatΔDlx5-6 mice present a behavioral pattern suggesting reduction of anxiety-like behavior and obsessive-compulsive activities, and a lower interest in nest building. Twenty-month-old VgatΔDlx5-6 animals have the same size as their normal littermates, but present a 25% body weight reduction associated with a marked decline in white and brown adipose tissue. Remarkably, both VgatΔDlx5-6/+ and VgatΔDlx5-6 mice present a 33% longer median survival. Hallmarks of biological aging such as motility, adiposity and coat conditions are improved in mutant animals. Our data imply that GABAergic interneurons can regulate healthspan and lifespan through Dlx5/6-dependent mechanisms. Understanding these regulations can be an entry point to unravel the processes through which the brain affects body homeostasis and, ultimately, longevity and healthy aging.


Dlx5/Dlx6; GABAergic neurons; aging; behavior; longevity

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