Mutations in the creatine (Cr) transporter (CrT; Slc6a8) gene lead to absence of brain Cr and intellectual disabilities, loss of speech, and behavioral abnormalities. To date, no mouse model of CrT deficiency exists in which to understand and develop treatments for this condition. The purpose of this study was to generate a mouse model of human CrT deficiency. We created mice with exons 2–4 of Slc6a8 flanked by loxP sites and crossed these to Cre:CMV mice to create a line of ubiquitous CrT knockout expressing mice. Mice were tested for learning and memory deficits and assayed for Cr and neurotransmitter levels. Male CrT−/y (affected) mice lack Cr in the brain and muscle with significant reductions of Cr in other tissues including heart and testes. CrT−/y mice showed increased path length during acquisition and reversal learning in the Morris water maze. During probe trials, CrT−/y mice showed increased average distance from the platform site. CrT−/y mice showed reduced novel object recognition and conditioned fear memory compared to CrT+/y. CrT−/y mice had increased serotonin and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Ubiquitous CrT knockout mice have learning and memory deficits resembling human CrT deficiency and this model should be useful in understanding this disorder.
Gaucher disease is caused by defective acid β-glucosidase (GCase) function. Saposin C is a lysosomal protein needed for optimal GCase activity. To test the in vivo effects of saposin C on GCase, saposin C deficient mice (C−/−) were backcrossed to point mutated GCase (V394L/V394L) mice. The resultant mice (4L;C*) began to exhibit CNS abnormalities ∼30 days: first as hindlimb paresis, then progressive tremor and ataxia. Death occurred ∼48 days due to neurological deficits. Axonal degeneration was evident in brain stem, spinal cord and white matter of cerebellum accompanied by increasing infiltration of the brain stem, cortex and thalamus by CD68 positive microglial cells and activation of astrocytes. Electron microscopy showed inclusion bodies in neuronal processes and degenerating cells. Accumulation of p62 and Lamp2 were prominent in the brain suggesting the impairment of autophagosome/lysosome function. This phenotype was different from either V394L/V394L or C−/− alone. Relative to V394L/V394L mice, 4L;C* mice had diminished GCase protein and activity. Marked increases (20- to 30-fold) of glucosylsphingosine (GS) and moderate elevation (1.5- to 3-fold) of glucosylceramide (GC) were in 4L;C* brains. Visceral tissues had increases of GS and GC, but no storage cells were found. Neuronal cells in thick hippocampal slices from 4L;C* mice had significantly attenuated long-term potentiation, presumably resulting from substrate accumulation. The 4L;C* mouse mimics the CNS phenotype and biochemistry of some type 3 (neuronopathic) variants of Gaucher disease and is a unique model suitable for testing pharmacological chaperone and substrate reduction therapies, and investigating the mechanisms of neuronopathic Gaucher disease.
The elevated plus and zero mazes (Plus and Zero, respectively) are used to assess behavior related to anxiety in rodents but direct comparisons of the two tests are lacking for rats. We compared the two methods in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Untreated rats in the Zero spent more time in open zones and exhibited more head dips than in the Plus whereas start latency and closed area entries were lower in the Zero than in the Plus. Diazepam (1 mg/kg) exposure increased time in the open in both mazes. Restraint (60 min prior to testing), yohimbine (2.5 mg/kg), and caffeine (100 mg/kg) had the opposite effect, significantly decreasing time spent in open zones in both mazes. No sexual dimorphism in behavior was seen in either maze in untreated rats. Although more open area time was evident in untreated animals in the Zero, after drug challenge both mazes detected anxiolytic and anxiogenic effects equally. Zero maze data can be analyzed directly because no center region exists; otherwise the two methods appear comparable following challenge.
3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in previous experiments has been shown to induce long-term spatial and sequential learning and memory deficits in adult offspring after exposure to the drug on postnatal (P) days 11-20, but not after exposure on P1-10. Herein we further tested for the effects of MDMA (0, 5, 10 or 20 mg/kg x 2/day) after exposure on P11-20 on reference and working memory in the Morris water maze (MWM), on reference memory in the Barnes maze, and on cued learning in the visible platform version of the MWM. The MWM and Barnes mazes were counterbalanced such that half the litters received the MWM-first and the other half received the Barnes maze first. Effects on MWM performance as a function of test order were observed. For animals that received the Barnes maze first, spatial MWM learning and memory trends were seen but they were not significantly different between MDMA groups and saline controls. For those receiving the MWM-first, there are consistent impairments on all measures in the MDMA groups compared to controls on MWM performance (latency, path length, and cumulative distance from the goal). On probe trials, MDMA animals receiving the MWM-first showed increased distance from the target site compared to controls. There were no MDMA effects seen on cued trials in the MWM or on straight channel swimming trials regardless of test order, indicating that MDMA had no effects on swimming ability or on the skills needed to learn the MWM. Similarly, there were no effects of MDMA on MWM working memory regardless of test order. No MDMA effects on the Barnes maze were found regardless of test order, however, the interpretation of this finding was compromised by the poor performance of the animals on this task.
Postnatal day (P)11-20 (+)-methamphetamine (MA) treatment impairs spatial learning and reference memory in the Morris water maze, but has marginal effects on path integration learning in a labyrinthine maze. A subsequent experiment showed that MA treatment on P11-15, but not P16-20, is sufficient to induce Morris maze deficits. Here we tested the effects of P11-15 MA treatment under two different rearing conditions on Morris maze performance and path integration learning in the Cincinnati water maze in which distal cues were unavailable by using infrared illumination. Littermates were treated with 0, 10, 15, 20, or 25 mg/kg x 4 per day (2 h intervals). Half the litters were reared under standard housing conditions and half under partial enrichment by adding stainless steel enclosures. All MA groups showed impaired Cincinnati water maze performance with no significant effects of rearing condition. In the Morris maze, the MA-25 group showed impaired spatial acquisition, reversal, and small platform learning. Enrichment significantly improved Morris maze acquisition in all groups but did not interact with treatment. The male MA-25 group was also impaired on probe trial performance after acquisition and on small platform trials. A narrow window of MA treatment (P11-15) induces impaired path integration learning irrespective of dose within the range tested but impairments in spatial learning are dependent on dose. The results demonstrate that a narrower exposure window (5 days) changes the long-term effects of MA treatment compared to longer exposures (10 days).
Abstract3,4-Methlylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) administration (4 × 15 mg/kg) on a single day has been shown to cause path integration deficits in rats. While most animal experiments focus on single binge-type models of MDMA use, many MDMA users take the drug on a recurring basis. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of repeated single-day treatments with MDMA (4 × 15 mg/ kg) once weekly for 5 weeks to animals that only received MDMA on week-5 and saline on weeks 1-4. In animals treated with MDMA for 5 weeks, there was an increase in time spent in the open area of the elevated zero-maze suggesting a decrease in anxiety or increase in impulsivity compared to the animals given MDMA for 1 week and saline treated controls. Regardless of dosing regimen, MDMA treatment produced path integration deficits as evidenced by an increase in latency to find the goal in the Cincinnati water maze. Animals treated with MDMA also showed a transient hypoactivity that was not present when the animals were re-tested at the end of cognitive testing. In addition, both MDMA-treated groups showed comparable hyperactive responses to a later methamphetamine challenge. No differences were observed in spatial learning in the Morris water maze during acquisition or reversal but MDMA-related deficits were seen on reduced platform-size trials. Taken together, the data show that a single-day regimen of MDMA induces deficits similar to that of multiple weekly treatments.
J. Neurochem. (2008) 104, 1674–1685. Abstract Rats treated with (±)‐3,4‐methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or (+)‐methamphetamine (MA) neonatally exhibit long‐lasting learning impairments (i.e., after treatment on postnatal days (P)11–15 or P11–20). Although both drugs are substituted amphetamines, they each produce a unique profile of cognitive deficits (i.e., spatial vs. path integration learning and severity of deficits) which may be the result of differential early neurochemical changes. We previously showed that MA and MDMA increase corticosterone (CORT) and MDMA reduces levels of serotonin (5‐HT) 24 h after treatment on P11, however, learning deficits are seen after 5 or 10 days of drug treatment, not just 1 day. Accordingly, in the present experiment, rats were treated with MA or MDMA starting on P11 for 5 or 10 days (P11–15 or P11–20) and tissues collected on P16, P21, or P30. Five‐day MA administration dramatically increased CORT on P16, whereas MDMA did not. Both drugs decreased hippocampal 5‐HT on P16 and P21, although MDMA produced larger reductions. Ten‐day treatment with either drug increased dopamine utilization in the neostriatum on P21, whereas 5‐day treatment had no effect. No CORT or brain 5‐HT or dopamine changes were found with either drug on P30. Although the monoamine changes are transient, they may alter developing neural circuits sufficiently to permanently disrupt later learning and memory abilities.
This study determined whether developmental and adult 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) exposures in rats have interactive effects on body temperature, learning, other behaviors, and monoamine concentrations in the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and striatum. Learning was assessed in the Cincinnati water maze (CWM), Morris water maze (MWM), and novel object recognition (NOR). On acquisition trials in the MWM, significant differences from developmental MDMA exposure were found on latency, cumulative distance, path length, and angle of first bearing to the goal, but the early and adult MDMA exposure group performed no worse than the developmental-only MDMA group. In the reversal trials, however, an interaction was seen: latency to the goal, cumulative distance, and angle of first bearing were increased in animals treated both developmentally and in adulthood with MDMA compared with those treated only developmentally. Other tests (elevated zero maze, CWM, NOR, and open-field activity) did not show an interaction, nor did hippocampal concentrations of serotonin or dopamine. However, several behavioral tests showed neonatal MDMA effects, including increased errors in the CWM, reduced time spent with a new object in the NOR test, and reduced locomotor activity in the open-field. By contrast, adult MDMA decreased the number of entries into open quadrants of the elevated zero maze. Litter effects were controlled by treating litter as the experimental unit and using mixed models repeated measures analyses. Correlational analyses suggested that the MWM reversal interaction involves multiple monoamine changes. The results indicate that developmental MDMA exposure can interact with adult exposure to interfere with some aspects of learning.
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