Disc1 point mutations in mice affect development of the cerebral cortex.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 1R8.
Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 03/2011; 31(9):3197-206. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4219-10.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a strong candidate gene for schizophrenia and other mental disorders. DISC1 regulates neurodevelopmental processes including neurogenesis, neuronal migration, neurite outgrowth, and neurotransmitter signaling. Abnormal neuronal morphology and cortical architecture are seen in human postmortem brain from patients with schizophrenia. However, the etiology and development of these histological abnormalities remain unclear. We analyzed the histology of two Disc1 mutant mice with point mutations (Q31L and L100P) and found a relative reduction in neuron number, decreased neurogenesis, and altered neuron distribution compared to wild-type littermates. Frontal cortical neurons have shorter dendrites and decreased surface area and spine density. Overall, the histology of Disc1 mutant mouse cortex is reminiscent of the findings in schizophrenia. These results provide further evidence that Disc1 participates in cortical development, including neurogenesis and neuron migration.

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    ABSTRACT: Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a risk factor for a spectrum of neuropsychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. Here we use two missense Disc1 mouse mutants, described previously with distinct behavioural phenotypes, to demonstrate that Disc1 variation exerts differing effects on the formation of newly generated neurons in the adult hippocampus. Disc1 mice carrying a homozygous Q31L mutation, and displaying depressive-like phenotypes, have fewer proliferating cells while Disc1 mice with a homozygous L100P mutation that induces schizophrenia-like phenotypes, show changes in the generation, placement and maturation of newly generated neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Our results demonstrate Disc1 allele specific effects in the adult hippocampus, and suggest that the divergence in behavioural phenotypes may in part stem from changes in specific cell populations in the brain.
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