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J Neurosci. 2004 Feb 18;24(7):1780-91.

A murine model for neuropsychiatric disorders associated with group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection.

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Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


A syndrome of motoric and neuropsychiatric symptoms comprising various elements, including chorea, hyperactivity, tics, emotional lability, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, can occur in association with group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) infection. We tested the hypothesis that an immune response to GABHS can result in behavioral abnormalities. Female SJL/J mice were immunized and boosted with a GABHS homogenate in Freund's adjuvant, whereas controls received Freund's adjuvant alone. When sera from GABHS-immunized mice were tested for immunoreactivity to mouse brain, a subset was found to be immunoreactive to several brain regions, including deep cerebellar nuclei (DCN), globus pallidus, and thalamus. GABHS-immunized mice having serum immunoreactivity to DCN also had increased IgG deposits in DCN and exhibited increased rearing behavior in open-field and hole-board tests compared with controls and with GABHS-immunized mice lacking serum anti-DCN antibodies. Rearing and ambulatory behavior were correlated with IgG deposits in the DCN and with serum immunoreactivity to GABHS proteins in Western blot. In addition, serum from a GABHS mouse reacted with normal mouse cerebellum in nondenaturing Western blots and immunoprecipitated C4 complement protein and alpha-2-macroglobulin. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that immune response to GABHS can result in motoric and behavioral disturbances and suggest that anti-GABHS antibodies cross-reactive with brain components may play a role in their pathophysiology.

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