Stability of inbred mouse strain differences in behavior and brain size between laboratories and across decades.
ABSTRACT If we conduct the same experiment in two laboratories or repeat a classical study many years later, will we obtain the same results? Recent research with mice in neural and behavioral genetics yielded different results in different laboratories for certain phenotypes, and these findings suggested to some researchers that behavior may be too unstable for fine-scale genetic analysis. Here we expand the range of data on this question to additional laboratories and phenotypes, and, for the first time in this field, we formally compare recent data with experiments conducted 30-50 years ago. For ethanol preference and locomotor activity, strain differences have been highly stable over a period of 40-50 years, and most strain correlations are in the range of r = 0.85-0.98, as high as or higher than for brain weight. For anxiety-related behavior on the elevated plus maze, on the other hand, strain means often differ dramatically across laboratories or even when the same laboratory is moved to another site within a university. When a wide range of phenotypes is considered, no inbred strain appears to be exceptionally stable or labile across laboratories in any general sense, and there is no tendency to observe higher correlations among studies done more recently. Phenotypic drift over decades for most of the behaviors examined appears to be minimal.
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ABSTRACT: Social deficit is one of the core symptoms of neuropsychiatric diseases, in which immune genes play an important role. Although a few immune genes have been shown to regulate social and emotional behaviors, how immune gene network(s) may jointly regulate sociability has not been investigated so far. To decipher the potential immune-mediated mechanisms underlying social behavior, we first studied the brain microarray data of eight inbred mouse strains with known variations in social behavior and retrieved the differentially expressed immune genes. We then made a protein-protein interaction analysis of them to find the major networks and explored the potential association of these genes with the behavior and brain morphology in the mouse phenome database. To validate the expression and function of the candidate immune genes, we selected the C57BL/6 J and DBA/2 J strains among the eight inbred strains, compared their social behaviors in resident-intruder and 3-chambered social tests and the mRNA levels of these genes, and analyzed the correlations of these genes with the social behaviors. A group of immune genes were differentially expressed in the brains of these mouse strains. The representative C57BL/6 J and DBA/2 J strains displayed significant differences in social behaviors, DBA/2 J mice being less active in social dominance and social interaction than C57BL/6 J mice. The mRNA levels of H2-d1 in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and hypothalamus and C1qb in the hippocampus of the DBA/2 J strain were significantly down-regulated as compared to those in the C57BL/6 J strain. In contrast, Polr3b in the hippocampus and Tnfsf13b in the prefrontal cortex of the DBA/2 J strain were up-regulated. Furthermore, C1qb, Cx3cl1, H2-d1, H2-k1, Polr3b, and Tnfsf13b were predicted to be associated with various behavioral and brain morphological features across the eight inbred strains. Importantly, the C1qb mRNA level was confirmed to be significantly correlated with the sociability in DBA/2 J but not in C57BL/6 J mice. Our study provided evidence on the association of immune gene network(s) with the brain development and behavior in animals and revealed neurobiological functions of novel brain immune genes that may contribute to social deficiency in animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders.Journal of Neuroinflammation 04/2015; 12(1):75. DOI:10.1186/s12974-015-0297-5 · 4.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Psychopharmacology has had some bad publicity lately. Frankly, there have been some major problems along the way in developing new effective drugs for psychiatric disorders. After a prolonged period of high investments but low success rates, big pharmaceutical companies seem to retract their activities in the psychopharmacology field. Yet, the burden of mental disorders is likely to keep on growing in the next decades. In this position paper, we focus on drug development for depression and anxiety disorders, to narrow the scope of the assay. We describe the current situation of the psychopharmacology field, and analyse some of the methods and paradigms that have brought us here, but which should perhaps change to bring us even further. In addition, some of the factors contributing to the current stagnation in psychopharmacology are discussed. Finally, we suggest a number of changes that could lead to a more rational strategy for central nervous system drug development and which may circumvent some of the pitfalls leading to "me too" approaches. Central to the suggested changes, is the notion that mental disorders do not lead to several symptoms, but a network of causally related symptoms convolutes into a mental disorder. We call upon academia to put these changes in the early phases of drug development into effect. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.European journal of pharmacology 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.03.020 · 2.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Repeated ethanol exposure and withdrawal in mice increases voluntary drinking and represents an animal model of physical dependence. We examined time- and brain region-dependent changes in gene coexpression networks in amygdala (AMY), nucleus accumbens (NAC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and liver after four weekly cycles of chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) vapor exposure in C57BL/6J mice. Microarrays were used to compare gene expression profiles at 0-, 8-, and 120-hours following the last ethanol exposure. Each brain region exhibited a large number of differentially expressed genes (2,000-3,000) at the 0- and 8-hour time points, but fewer changes were detected at the 120-hour time point (400-600). Within each region, there was little gene overlap across time (~20%). All brain regions were significantly enriched with differentially expressed immune-related genes at the 8-hour time point. Weighted gene correlation network analysis identified modules that were highly enriched with differentially expressed genes at the 0- and 8-hour time points with virtually no enrichment at 120 hours. Modules enriched for both ethanol-responsive and cell-specific genes were identified in each brain region. These results indicate that chronic alcohol exposure causes global 'rewiring' of coexpression systems involving glial and immune signaling as well as neuronal genes.PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(3):e0121522. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121522 · 3.53 Impact Factor