[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mouse ultrasonic vocalisations have been often used as a paradigm to extrapolate vocal communication defects observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The role of these vocalisations as well as their development, structure and informational content, however, remain largely unknown. In the present study, we characterised in depth the emission of pup and adult ultrasonic vocalisations of wild-type mice and their ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) littermates lacking a synaptic scaffold protein mutated in ASD. We hypothesized that the vocal behaviour of ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mice not only differs from the vocal behaviour of their wild-type littermates in a quantitative way, but also presents more qualitative abnormalities in temporal organisation and acoustic structure. We first quantified the rate of emission of ultrasonic vocalisations, and analysed the organisation of vocalisations sequences using Markov models. We subsequently measured duration and peak frequency characteristics of each ultrasonic vocalisation, to characterise their acoustic structure. In wild-type mice, we found a high level of organisation in sequences of ultrasonic vocalisations, suggesting a communicative function in this complex system. Very limited significant sex-related variations were detected in their usage and acoustic structure, even in adult mice. In adult ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mice, we found abnormalities in the call usage and the structure of ultrasonic vocalisations. Both ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) male and female mice uttered less vocalisations with a different call distribution and at lower peak frequency in comparison with wild-type littermates. This study provides a comprehensive framework to characterise abnormalities of ultrasonic vocalisations in mice and confirms that ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mice represent a relevant model to study communication defects.
Behavioural brain research 08/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autism spectrum disorders comprise a range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and by repetitive behaviour. Mutations in synaptic proteins such as neuroligins, neurexins, GKAPs/SAPAPs and ProSAPs/Shanks were identified in patients with autism spectrum disorder, but the causative mechanisms remain largely unknown. ProSAPs/Shanks build large homo- and heteromeric protein complexes at excitatory synapses and organize the complex protein machinery of the postsynaptic density in a laminar fashion. Here we demonstrate that genetic deletion of ProSAP1/Shank2 results in an early, brain-region-specific upregulation of ionotropic glutamate receptors at the synapse and increased levels of ProSAP2/Shank3. Moreover, ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mutants exhibit fewer dendritic spines and show reduced basal synaptic transmission, a reduced frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents and enhanced N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-mediated excitatory currents at the physiological level. Mutants are extremely hyperactive and display profound autistic-like behavioural alterations including repetitive grooming as well as abnormalities in vocal and social behaviours. By comparing the data on ProSAP1/Shank2(-/-) mutants with ProSAP2/Shank3αβ(-/-) mice, we show that different abnormalities in synaptic glutamate receptor expression can cause alterations in social interactions and communication. Accordingly, we propose that appropriate therapies for autism spectrum disorders are to be carefully matched to the underlying synaptopathic phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preexisting cognitive impairment and advanced age are factors that increase the risk of developing postoperative cognitive dysfunction. Because anesthetic agents interfere with cholinergic transmission and as impairment of cholinergic function is associated with cognitive decline, the authors studied how the volatile anesthetic sevoflurane affects exploratory and anxiety-like behavior in young and aged animals with a genetically modified cholinergic system.
Young and aged wild-type and mutant mice lacking the beta2 subunit of the nicotinic cholinergic receptor (beta2KO) were anesthetized for 2 h with 2.6% sevoflurane in oxygen and compared with nonanesthetized controls. Locomotor activity and organization of movement in the open field model were assessed before and 24 h after anesthesia. Locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze were assessed 24 h after anesthesia. High- and low-affinity nicotinic receptor and cholinergic uptake site densities were evaluated in the hippocampus, amygdala, and forebrain regions using receptor autoradiography.
Sevoflurane anesthesia significantly reduced locomotor activity, altered temporospatial organization of trajectories, and increased anxiety-like behavior in young beta2KO mice, whereas no such changes were observed in young wild-type mice. Aged wild-type and beta2KO mice displayed reactions that were similar, but not identical, to the reactions of young mice to sevoflurane anesthesia. However, behavioral changes were not associated with differences in nicotinic receptor or cholinergic uptake site densities.
In conclusion, sevoflurane anesthesia altered exploratory and anxiety-like behavior in mice lacking the beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit.