Daily rhythmic behaviors and thermoregulatory patterns are disrupted in adult female MeCP2-deficient mice.

Division of Genetics and Development, Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2012; 7(4):e35396. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035396
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations in the X-linked gene encoding Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) have been associated with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders including Rett Syndrome, X-linked mental retardation syndrome, severe neonatal encephalopathy, and Angelman syndrome. Although alterations in the performance of MeCP2-deficient mice in specific behavioral tasks have been documented, it remains unclear whether or not MeCP2 dysfunction affects patterns of periodic behavioral and electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. The aim of the current study was therefore to determine whether a deficiency in MeCP2 is sufficient to alter the normal daily rhythmic patterns of core body temperature, gross motor activity and cortical delta power. To address this, we monitored individual wild-type and MeCP2-deficient mice in their home cage environment via telemetric recording over 24 hour cycles. Our results show that the normal daily rhythmic behavioral patterning of cortical delta wave activity, core body temperature and mobility are disrupted in one-year old female MeCP2-deficient mice. Moreover, female MeCP2-deficient mice display diminished overall motor activity, lower average core body temperature, and significantly greater body temperature fluctuation than wild-type mice in their home-cage environment. Finally, we show that the epileptiform discharge activity in female MeCP2-deficient mice is more predominant during times of behavioral activity compared to inactivity. Collectively, these results indicate that MeCP2 deficiency is sufficient to disrupt the normal patterning of daily biological rhythmic activities.

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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2) cause most cases of Rett syndrome (RTT). Currently there is no cure for RTT. Abnormal EEGs are found in 100% of RTT cases and are associated with severe sleep dysfunction, the cause of which is not well understood. Mice deficient in MeCP2 protein have been studied and characterized for their neuropathological and behavioral deficits to better understand RTT. With the goal to study the non-ictal EEG correlates in symptomatic Mecp2 KO mice (Mecp2(tm1.1Bird/y)), and determine novel EEG biomarkers of their reported progressive neurodegeneration, we used 24 h video-EEG/EMG with synchronous in-vivo cortical glutamate biosensor in the frontal cortex. We scored the EEG for activity states and spectral analysis was performed to evaluate correlations to the synchronous extracellular glutamate fluctuations underlying Mecp2 inactivation as compared to WT. Significant alterations in sleep structure due to dark cycle-specific long wake states and poor quality of slow-wave sleep were associated with a significant increase in glutamate loads per activity cycle. The dynamics of the activity-state-dependent physiological rise and fall of glutamate indicative of glutamate homeostasis were significantly altered in the KO mice. Colorimetric quantitation of absolute glutamate levels in frontal cortex also indicated the presence of significantly higher levels in KO. This study for the first time found evidence of uncompensated sleep deprivation-like EEG biomarkers that were associated with glutamate homeostatic dysfunction in the Mecp2 KO mice.
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations of the X-linked gene encoding methyl CpG binding protein type 2 (MECP2) are the predominant cause of Rett syndrome, a severe neurodevelopmental condition that affects primarily females. Previous studies have shown that major phenotypic deficits arising from MeCP2-deficiency may be reversible, as the delayed reactivation of the Mecp2 gene in Mecp2-deficient mice improved aspects of their Rett-like phenotype. While encouraging for prospective gene replacement treatments, it remains unclear whether additional Rett syndrome co-morbidities recapitulated in Mecp2-deficient mice will be similarly responsive to the delayed reintroduction of functional Mecp2. Here, we show that the delayed reactivation of Mecp2 in both male and female Mecp2-deficient mice rescues established deficits in motor and anxiety-like behavior, epileptiform activity, cortical and hippocampal EEG patterning, and thermoregulation. These findings indicate that neural circuitry deficits arising from the deficiency in Mecp2 are not engrained, and provide further evidence that delayed restoration of Mecp2 function can improve a wide spectrum of the Rett-like deficits recapitulated by Mecp2-deficient mice.
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