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Showing papers in "Genes, Brain and Behavior in 2018"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An overview of the current state of knowledge regarding putative risk mechanisms in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders is presented, placing a particular focus on the role of protective factors serving to buffer a risk factor constellation and therole of epigenetic processes functioning as a potent turnstile changing passage direction toward disorder risk or resilience.
Abstract: The pathogenesis of anxiety disorders is multifactorial, involving complex interactions between biological factors, environmental influences and psychological mechanisms. Recent advances have highlighted the role of epigenetics in bridging the gap between multiple contributing risk factors toward an increased understanding of the pathomechanisms underlying anxiety. In this review, we present an overview of the current state of knowledge regarding putative risk mechanisms in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders, placing a particular focus on the role of protective factors serving to buffer a risk factor constellation and the role of epigenetic processes functioning as a potent turnstile changing passage direction toward disorder risk or resilience. We discuss promising future directions in epigenetic research regarding the prediction, prevention and personalized treatment of anxiety disorders.

125 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Findings from genetic studies of personality have furthered the understanding about the genetic etiology of personality, which, like neuropsychiatric diseases themselves, is highly polygenic.
Abstract: Personality traits are the relatively enduring patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that reflect the tendency to respond in certain ways under certain circumstances. Twin and family studies have showed that personality traits are moderately heritable, and can predict various lifetime outcomes, including psychopathology. The Research Domain Criteria characterizes psychiatric diseases as extremes of normal tendencies, including specific personality traits. This implies that heritable variation in personality traits, such as neuroticism, would share a common genetic basis with psychiatric diseases, such as major depressive disorder. Despite considerable efforts over the past several decades, the genetic variants that influence personality are only beginning to be identified. We review these recent and increasingly rapid developments, which focus on the assessment of personality via several commonly used personality questionnaires in healthy human subjects. Study designs covered include twin, linkage, candidate gene association studies, genome-wide association studies and polygenic analyses. Findings from genetic studies of personality have furthered our understanding about the genetic etiology of personality, which, like neuropsychiatric diseases themselves, is highly polygenic. Polygenic analyses have showed genetic correlations between personality and psychopathology, confirming that genetic studies of personality can help to elucidate the etiology of several neuropsychiatric diseases.

110 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The roles of miRNAs in synaptic plasticity underlying the development of addiction are discussed and the possibility of using circulating miRNA as biomarkers for addiction is discussed.
Abstract: Chronic use of drugs of abuse results in neurochemical, morphological and behavioral plasticity that underlies the emergence of compulsive drug seeking and vulnerability to relapse during periods of attempted abstinence. Identifying and reversing addiction-relevant plasticity is seen as a potential point of pharmacotherapeutic intervention in drug-addicted individuals. Despite considerable advances in our understanding of the actions of drugs of abuse in the brain, this information has thus far yielded few novel treatment options addicted individuals. MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that can each regulate the translation of hundreds to thousands of messenger RNAs. The highly pleiotropic nature of miRNAs has focused attention on their contribution to addiction-relevant structural and functional plasticity in the brain and their potential utility as targets for medications development. In this review, we discuss the roles of miRNAs in synaptic plasticity underlying the development of addiction and then briefly discuss the possibility of using circulating miRNA as biomarkers for addiction.

75 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The anatomical sources of Oxt and Avp input to the hippocampus are focused on and the distribution of their corresponding receptors in different hippocampal subfields and neuronal populations are considered.
Abstract: The role of the hippocampus in social memory and behavior is under intense investigation. Oxytocin (Oxt) and vasopressin (Avp) are two neuropeptides with many central actions related to social cognition. Oxt- and Avp-expressing fibers are abundant in the hippocampus and receptors for both peptides are seen throughout the different subfields, suggesting that Oxt and Avp modulate hippocampal-dependent processes. In this review, we first focus on the anatomical sources of Oxt and Avp input to the hippocampus and consider the distribution of their corresponding receptors in different hippocampal subfields and neuronal populations. We next discuss the behavioral outcomes related to social memory seen with perturbation of hippocampal Oxt and Avp signaling. Finally, we review Oxt and Avp modulatory mechanisms in the hippocampus that may underlie the behavioral roles for both peptides.

60 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The potential role of adenosine methylations on mature mRNA in regulating gene expression within the adult brain, nervous system function and normal and pathological behavior is reviewed.
Abstract: Covalent RNA modifications were recently rediscovered as abundant RNA chemical tags. Similarly to DNA epigenetic modifications, they have been proposed as essential regulators of gene expression. Here we focus on 3 of the most abundant adenosine methylations: N6-methyladenosine (m6 A), N6,2'-O-dimethyladenosine (m6 Am) and N1-methyladenosine (m1 A). We review the potential role of these modifications on mature mRNA in regulating gene expression within the adult brain, nervous system function and normal and pathological behavior. Dynamic mRNA modifications, summarized as the epitranscriptome, regulate transcript maturation, translation and decay, and thus crucially determine gene expression beyond primary transcription regulation. However, the extent of this regulation in the healthy and maladapted adult brain is poorly understood. Analyzing this novel layer of gene expression control in addition to epigenetics and posttranslational regulation of proteins will be highly relevant for understanding the molecular underpinnings of behavior and psychiatric disorders.

60 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The opportunity to measure emotion recognition abilities in rodents may allow us to better identify the neural mechanisms mediating this complex function, thus promoting the development of new intervention strategies for several neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by social cognitive dysfunctions.
Abstract: Emotion recognition represents the ability to encode an ensemble of sensory stimuli providing information about the emotional state of another individual. This ability is not unique to humans. An increasing number of studies suggest that many aspects of higher order social functions, including emotion recognition, might be present in species ranging from primates to rodents, indicating a conserved role in social animals. The aim of this review is to examine and compare how emotions are communicated and perceived in humans and other animals, with the intent to highlight possible new behavioral approaches and research perspectives. We summarize the evidence from human emotion recognition, and latest advances in the development of nonhuman animal behavioral tests, using or implying the use of this cognitive function. The differential implication of sensory modalities used by animals to communicate and decipher emotional states is also discussed. The opportunity to measure emotion recognition abilities in rodents may allow us to better identify the neural mechanisms mediating this complex function, thus promoting the development of new intervention strategies for several neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by social cognitive dysfunctions.

55 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The utility of targeted NGS in genetic diagnoses of epileptic encephalopathies and a comprehensive evaluation of the pathogenicity of variants based on ACMG scoring and assessment of clinical concordance are highlighted.
Abstract: Epileptic encephalopathies are severe epilepsy disorders with strong genetic bases. We performed targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) in 70 patients with epileptic encephalopathies. The likely pathogenicity of variants in candidate genes was evaluated by American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) scoring taken together with the accepted clinical presentation. Thirty-three candidate variants were detected after population filtration and computational prediction. According to ACMG, 21 candidate variants, including 18 de novo variants, were assessed to be pathogenic/likely pathogenic with clinical concordance. Twelve variants were initially assessed as uncertain significance by ACMG, among which 3 were considered causative and 3 others were considered possibly causative after analysis of clinical concordance. In total, 24 variants were identified as putatively causative, among which 19 were novel findings. SCN1A mutations were identified in 50% of patients with Dravet syndrome. TSC1/TSC2 mutations were detected in 66.7% of patients with tuberous sclerosis. STXBP1 mutations were the main findings in patients with West syndrome. Mutations in SCN2A, KCNT1, KCNQ2 and CLCN4 were identified in patients with epileptic infantile with migrating focal seizures; among them, KCNQ2 and CLCN4 were first identified as potential causative genes. Only one CHD2 mutation was detected in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This study highlighted the utility of targeted NGS in genetic diagnoses of epileptic encephalopathies and a comprehensive evaluation of the pathogenicity of variants based on ACMG scoring and assessment of clinical concordance. Epileptic encephalopathies differ in genetic causes, and the genotype-phenotype correlations would provide insights into the underlying pathogenic mechanisms.

53 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This review focuses specifically on sperm RNAs as causal vectors of inheritance, and examines how they might become altered in the germline, and how different classes of spermRNAs might interact with other epimodifications in germ cells or in the zygote.
Abstract: Life experiences can induce epigenetic changes in mammalian germ cells, which can influence the developmental trajectory of the offspring and impact health and disease across generations. While this concept of epigenetic germline inheritance has long been met with skepticism, evidence in support of this route of information transfer is now overwhelming, and some key mechanisms underlying germline transmission of acquired information are emerging. This review focuses specifically on sperm RNAs as causal vectors of inheritance. We examine how they might become altered in the germline, and how different classes of sperm RNAs might interact with other epimodifications in germ cells or in the zygote. We integrate the latest findings with earlier pioneering work in this field, point out major questions and challenges, and suggest how new experiments could address them.

50 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It was found that some but not all behaviors replicated published findings and those that did replicate, such as social behavior and overgrooming in Shank3 models, tended to be milder than reported elsewhere.
Abstract: To expand, analyze and extend published behavioral phenotypes relevant to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we present a study of three ASD genetic mouse models: Feng's Shank3tm2Gfng model, hereafter Shank3/F, Jiang's Shank3tm1Yhj model, hereafter Shank3/J and the Cacna1c deletion model. The Shank3 models mimick gene mutations associated with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and the Cacna1c model recapitulates the deletion underlying Timothy syndrome. This study utilizes both standard and novel behavioral tests with the same methodology used in our previously published companion report on the Cntnap2 null and 16p11.2 deletion models. We found that some but not all behaviors replicated published findings and those that did replicate, such as social behavior and overgrooming in Shank3 models, tended to be milder than reported elsewhere. The Shank3/F model, and to a much lesser extent, the Shank3/J and Cacna1c models, showed hypoactivity and a general anxiety-like behavior triggered by external stimuli which pervaded social interactions. We did not detect deficits in a cognitive procedural learning test nor did we observe perseverative behavior in these models. We did, however, find differences in exploratory patterns of Cacna1c mutant mice suggestive of a behavioral effect in a social setting. In addition, only Shank3/F showed differences in sensory-gating. Both positive and negative results from this study will be useful in identifying the most robust and replicable behavioral signatures within and across mouse models of autism. Understanding these phenotypes may shed light of which features to study when screening compounds for potential therapeutic interventions.

45 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Current knowledge of cellular consequences of RNA modifications, with a special emphasis on neuropsychiatric disorders, is summarized and evidence for the existence of an “RNA code,” similar to the histone code, that fine‐tunes gene expression in the nervous system by using combinations of different RNA modifications is presented.
Abstract: Much progress in our understanding of RNA metabolism has been made since the first RNA nucleoside modification was identified in 1957. Many of these modifications are found in noncoding RNAs but recent interest has focused on coding RNAs. Here, we summarize current knowledge of cellular consequences of RNA modifications, with a special emphasis on neuropsychiatric disorders. We present evidence for the existence of an "RNA code," similar to the histone code, that fine-tunes gene expression in the nervous system by using combinations of different RNA modifications. Unlike the relatively stable genetic code, this combinatorial RNA epigenetic code, or epitranscriptome, may be dynamically reprogrammed as a cause or consequence of psychiatric disorders. We discuss potential mechanisms linking disregulation of the epitranscriptome with brain disorders and identify potential new avenues of research.

41 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Here, a review of how the extant twin study literature can be used to guide the development of more informed, tailored prevention and intervention efforts in different racial/ethnic groups.
Abstract: As psychiatric genetics enters an era where gene identification is finally yielding robust, replicable genetic associations and polygenic risk scores, it is important to consider next steps and delineate how that knowledge will be applied to ultimately ameliorate suffering associated with substance use and psychiatric disorders. Much of the post-genome-wide association study discussion has focused on the potential of genetic information to elucidate the underlying biology and use this information for the development of more effective pharmaceutical treatments. In this review we focus on additional areas of research that should follow gene identification. By taking genetic findings into longitudinal, developmental studies, we can map the pathways by which genetic risk manifests across development, elucidating the early behavioral manifestations of risk, and studying how various environments and interventions moderate that risk across developmental stages. The delineation of risk across development will advance our understanding of mechanism, sex differences and risk and resilience processes in different racial/ethnic groups. Here, we review how the extant twin study literature can be used to guide these efforts. Together, these new lines of research will enable us to develop more informed, tailored prevention and intervention efforts.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The predictive power of polygenic scores will increase as the power of the genome‐wide association studies on which they are based increases and may lead to clinically usefulpolygenic scores that can inform on the genetic predisposition to loneliness and mental health.
Abstract: Loneliness is a heritable trait that accompanies multiple disorders. The association between loneliness and mental health indices may partly be due to inherited biological factors. We constructed polygenic scores for 27 traits related to behavior, cognition and mental health and tested their prediction for self-reported loneliness in a population-based sample of 8798 Dutch individuals. Polygenic scores for major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were significantly associated with loneliness. Of the Big Five personality dimensions, polygenic scores for neuroticism and conscientiousness also significantly predicted loneliness, as did the polygenic scores for subjective well-being, tiredness and self-rated health. When including all polygenic scores simultaneously into one model, only 2 major depression polygenic scores remained as significant predictors of loneliness. When controlling only for these 2 MDD polygenic scores, only neuroticism and schizophrenia remain significant. The total variation explained by all polygenic scores collectively was 1.7%. The association between the propensity to feel lonely and the susceptibility to psychiatric disorders thus pointed to a shared genetic etiology. The predictive power of polygenic scores will increase as the power of the genome-wide association studies on which they are based increases and may lead to clinically useful polygenic scores that can inform on the genetic predisposition to loneliness and mental health.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This review highlights key findings from the stress, MDD, and learning and memory fields to propose a model where stress regulates downstream cellular functioning through activity‐dependent epigenetic changes, and suggests that both typical and novel antidepressant treatments may exert positive influence through similar, activity-dependent pathways.
Abstract: Chronic stressors, during developmental sensitive periods and beyond, contribute to the risk of developing psychiatric conditions, including major depressive disorder (MDD). Epigenetic mechanisms including DNA methylation and histone modifications, at key stress response and neurotrophin genes, are increasingly implicated in mediating this risk. Although the exact mechanisms through which stressful environmental stimuli alter the epigenome are still unclear, research from the learning and memory fields indicates that epigenomic marks can be altered, at least in part, through calcium-dependent signaling cascades in direct response to neuronal activity. In this review, we highlight key findings from the stress, MDD, and learning and memory fields to propose a model where stress regulates downstream cellular functioning through activity-dependent epigenetic changes. Furthermore, we suggest that both typical and novel antidepressant treatments may exert positive influence through similar, activity-dependent pathways.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The findings indicated that schizophrenia susceptibility variants modify the neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia patients.
Abstract: Both neurocognitive deficits and schizophrenia are highly heritable. Genetic overlap between neurocognitive deficits and schizophrenia has been observed in both the general population and in the clinical samples. This study aimed to examine if the polygenic architecture of susceptibility to schizophrenia modified neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia patients. Schizophrenia polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were first derived from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) on schizophrenia, and then the scores were calculated in our independent sample of 1130 schizophrenia trios, who had PsychChip data and were part of the Schizophrenia Families from Taiwan project. Pseudocontrols generated from the nontransmitted parental alleles of the parents in these trios were compared with alleles in schizophrenia patients in assessing the replicability of PGC-derived susceptibility variants. Schizophrenia PRS at the P-value threshold (PT) of 0.1 explained 0.2% in the variance of disease status in this Han-Taiwanese samples, and the score itself had a P-value 0.05 for the association test with the disorder. Each patient underwent neurocognitive evaluation on sustained attention using the continuous performance test and executive function using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. We applied a structural equation model to construct the neurocognitive latent variable estimated from multiple measured indices in these 2 tests, and then tested the association between the PRS and the neurocognitive latent variable. Higher schizophrenia PRS generated at the PT of 0.1 was significantly associated with poorer neurocognitive performance with explained variance 0.5%. Our findings indicated that schizophrenia susceptibility variants modify the neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia patients.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Identifying and understanding risk variants that cause alternative splicing is critical to understanding the mechanisms of risk as well as to pave the way for new therapeutic options.
Abstract: A genetic contribution to psychiatric disorders has clearly been established and genome-wide association studies now provide the location of risk genes and genetic variants associated with risk. However, the mechanism by which these genes and variants contribute to psychiatric disorders is mostly undetermined. This is in part because non-synonymous protein coding changes cannot explain the majority of variants associated with complex genetic traits. Based on this, it is predicted that these variants are causing gene expression changes, including changes to alternative splicing. Genetic changes influencing alternative splicing have been identified as risk factors in Mendelian disorders; however, currently there is a paucity of research on the role of alternative splicing in complex traits. This stems partly from the difficulty of predicting the role of genetic variation in splicing. Alterations to canonical splice site sequences, nucleotides adjacent to splice junctions, and exonic and intronic splicing regulatory sequences can influence splice site choice. Recent studies have identified global changes in alternatively spliced transcripts in brain tissues, some of which correlate with altered levels of splicing trans factors. Disease-associated variants have also been found to affect cis-acting splicing regulatory sequences and alter the ratio of alternatively spliced transcripts. These findings are reviewed here, as well as the current datasets and resources available to study alternative splicing in psychiatric disorders. Identifying and understanding risk variants that cause alternative splicing is critical to understanding the mechanisms of risk as well as to pave the way for new therapeutic options.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The data suggest that on average individuals with XXY may have more difficulties in information processing when “social load” increases, suggesting a specific difficulty in the higher‐order labeling and interpretation of social cues, which cannot be explained by more basic visuospatial perceptual skills.
Abstract: About 1 in 650 boys are born with an extra X chromosome (47,XXY or Klinefelter syndrome). 47,XXY is associated with vulnerabilities in socio‐emotional development. This study was designed to assess types of cognitive deficits in individuals with 47,XXY that may contribute to social‐emotional dysfunction, and to evaluate the nature of such deficits at various levels: ranging from basic visuospatial processing deficits, impairments in face recognition (FR), to emotion expression impairments. A total of 70 boys and men with 47,XXY, aged 8 to 60 years old, participated in the study. The subtests feature identification, FR and identification of facial emotions of the Amsterdam Neuropsychological Tasks were used. Level of intellectual functioning was assessed with the child and adult versions of the Wechsler Intelligence Scales. Reaction time data showed that in the 47,XXY group, 17% had difficulties in visuospatial processing (no social load), 26% had difficulties with FR (medium social load) and an even higher number of 33% had difficulties with facial expressions of emotions (high‐social load). Information processing impairments increased as a function of “social load” of the stimuli, independent of intellectual functioning. Taken together, our data suggest that on average individuals with XXY may have more difficulties in information processing when “social load” increases, suggesting a specific difficulty in the higher‐order labeling and interpretation of social cues, which cannot be explained by more basic visuospatial perceptual skills. Considering the increased risk for social cognitive impairments, routine assessment of social cognitive functioning as part of neuropsychological screening is warranted.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The data show that rodent behaviors that model psychiatric disorders are affected by genetic background, PO and perinatal diet, as well as interactions among these factors.
Abstract: Previous studies in animal models and humans have shown that exposure to nutritional deficiencies in the perinatal period increases the risk of psychiatric disease. Less well understood is how such effects are modulated by the combination of genetic background and parent-of-origin (PO). To explore this, we exposed female mice from 20 Collaborative Cross (CC) strains to protein deficient, vitamin D deficient, methyl donor enriched or standard diet during the perinatal period. These CC females were then crossed to a male from a different CC strain to produce reciprocal F1 hybrid females comprising 10 distinct genetic backgrounds. The adult F1 females were then tested in the open field, light/dark, stress-induced hyperthermia, forced swim and restraint stress assays. Our experimental design allowed us to estimate effects of genetic background, perinatal diet, PO and their interactions on behavior. Genetic background significantly affected all assessed phenotypes. Perinatal diet exposure interacted with genetic background to affect body weight, basal body temperature, anxiety-like behavior and stress response. In 8 of 9 genetic backgrounds, PO effects were observed on multiple phenotypes. Additionally, we identified a small number of diet-by-PO effects on body weight, stress response, anxiety- and depressive-like behavior. Our data show that rodent behaviors that model psychiatric disorders are affected by genetic background, PO and perinatal diet, as well as interactions among these factors.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An association of higher levels of OPRM1 methylation at specific CpG sites and increased NAS severity is suggested, replicating prior findings and having important implications for personalized treatment regimens for infants at high risk for severe NAS.
Abstract: Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) due to in-utero opioid exposure has significant variability of severity. Preliminary studies have suggested that epigenetic variation within the μ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene impacts NAS. We aimed to determine if DNA methylation in OPRM1 within opioid-exposed mother-infant dyads is associated with differences in NAS severity in an independent cohort. Full-term opioid-exposed newborns and their mothers (N = 68 pairs) were studied. A DNA sample was obtained and then assessed for level of DNA methylation at 20 CpG sites within the OPRM1 promoter region by next-generation sequencing. Infants were monitored for NAS and treated with replacement opioids according to institutional protocol. The association between DNA methylation level at each CpG site with NAS outcome measures was evaluated using linear and logistic regression models. Higher methylation levels within the infants at the -18 (11.4% vs 4.4%, P = .0001), -14 (46.1% vs 24.0%, P = .002) and +23 (26.3% vs 12.9%, P = .008) CpG sites were associated with higher rates of infant pharmacologic treatment. Higher levels of methylation within the mothers at the -169 (R = 0.43, P = .008), -152 (R = 0.40, P = .002) and +84 (R = 0.44, P = .006) sites were associated point-wise with longer infant length of stay. Maternal associations remained significant point-wise for -169 (β = 0.07, P = .007) and on an experiment-wise level for +84 (β = -0.10, P = .003) using regression models. These results suggest an association of higher levels of OPRM1 methylation at specific CpG sites and increased NAS severity, replicating prior findings. These findings have important implications for personalized treatment regimens for infants at high risk for severe NAS.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results show heritable variation in sociability, which is independent of variation in activity and anxiety‐like traits, and a highly heritable and ethological domain of affiliative sociability—partner sniffing—appears highly polygenic.
Abstract: Humans exhibit broad heterogeneity in affiliative social behavior. Twin and family studies show that individual differences in core dimensions of social behavior are heritable, yet there are knowledge gaps in understanding the underlying genetic and neurobiological mechanisms. Animal genetic reference panels (GRPs) provide a tractable strategy for examining the behavioral and genetic architecture of complex traits. Here, using males from 50 mouse strains from the BXD GRP, 4 domains of affiliative social behavior-social approach, social recognition, direct social interaction (DSI) (partner sniffing) and vocal communication-were examined in 2 widely used behavioral tasks-the 3-chamber and DSI tasks. There was continuous and broad variation in social and nonsocial traits, with moderate to high heritability of social approach sniff preference (0.31), ultrasonic vocalization (USV) count (0.39), partner sniffing (0.51), locomotor activity (0.54-0.66) and anxiety-like behavior (0.36). Principal component analysis shows that variation in social and nonsocial traits are attributable to 5 independent factors. Genome-wide mapping identified significant quantitative trait loci for USV count on chromosome (Chr) 18 and locomotor activity on Chr X, with suggestive loci and candidate quantitative trait genes identified for all traits with one notable exception-partner sniffing in the DSI task. The results show heritable variation in sociability, which is independent of variation in activity and anxiety-like traits. In addition, a highly heritable and ethological domain of affiliative sociability-partner sniffing-appears highly polygenic. These findings establish a basis for identifying functional natural variants, leading to a new understanding typical and atypical sociability.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is reported that the D1 dopamine receptor dDA1 regulates courtship drive in naïve males and the gap in the knowledge of the mechanism that dopamine regulates male courtship behavior is narrows.
Abstract: Mating is critical for species survival and is profoundly regulated by neuromodulators and neurohormones to accommodate internal states and external factors. To identify the underlying neuromodulatory mechanisms, we investigated the roles of dopamine receptors in various aspects of courtship behavior in Drosophila. Here, we report that the D1 dopamine receptor dDA1 regulates courtship drive in naive males. The wild-type naive males actively courted females regardless their appearance or mating status. On the contrary, the dDA1 mutant (dumb) males exhibited substantially reduced courtship toward less appealing females including decapitated, leg-less and mated females. The dumb male's reduced courtship activity was due to delay in courtship initiation and prolonged intervals between courtship bouts. The dampened courtship drive of dumb males was rescued by reinstated dDA1 expression in the mushroom body α/β and γ neurons but not α/β or γ neurons alone, which is distinct from the previously characterized dDA1 functions in experience-dependent courtship or other learning and memory processes. We also found that the dopamine receptors dDA1, DAMB and dD2R are dispensable for associative memory formation and short-term memory of conditioned courtship, thus courtship motivation and associative courtship learning and memory are regulated by distinct neuromodulatory mechanisms. Taken together, our study narrows the gap in the knowledge of the mechanism that dopamine regulates male courtship behavior.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is shown that increased expression of Cdkn1c in the brain gives rise to neurobiological and behavioural changes indicative of a functionally altered dopaminergic system, highlighting the importance of correct dosage of this imprinted gene in the head.
Abstract: The imprinted gene Cdkn1c is expressed exclusively from the maternally inherited allele as a consequences of epigenetic regulation. Cdkn1c exemplifies many of the functional characteristics of imprinted genes, playing a role in foetal growth and placental development. However, Cdkn1c also plays an important role in the brain, being key to the appropriate proliferation and differentiation of midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Using a transgenic model (Cdkn1cBACx1 ) with a twofold elevation in Cdkn1c expression that mimics loss-of-imprinting, we show that increased expression of Cdkn1c in the brain gives rise to neurobiological and behavioural changes indicative of a functionally altered dopaminergic system. Cdkn1cBACX1 mice displayed altered expression of dopamine system-related genes, increased tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) staining and increased tissue content of dopamine in the striatum. In addition, Cdkn1cBACx1 animals were hypersensitive to amphetamine as showed by c-fos expression in the nucleus accumbens. Cdkn1cBACX1 mice had significant changes in behaviours that are dependent on the mesolimbic dopaminergic system. Specifically, increased motivation for palatable food stuffs, as indexed on a progressive ratio task. In addition, Cdkn1cBACX1 mice displayed enhanced social dominance. These data show, for the first time, the consequence of elevated Cdkn1c expression on dopamine-related behaviours highlighting the importance of correct dosage of this imprinted gene in the brain. This work has significant relevance for deepening our understanding of the epigenetic factors that can shape neurobiology and behaviour.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that DIO3 is essential for normal aggression and maternal behaviors, and indicates that abnormal local regulation of thyroid hormone action in the brain may contribute to the social deficits associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Abstract: Thyroid hormones regulate many aspects of brain development and function, and alterations in the levels of thyroid hormone action lead to abnormal anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. A complement of factors in the brain function independently of circulating levels of hormone to strictly controlled local thyroid hormone signaling. A critical factor is the type 3 deiodinase (DIO3), which is located in neurons and protects the brain from excessive thyroid hormone. Here, we examined whether a local increase in brain thyroid hormone action secondary to DIO3 deficiency is of consequence for social behaviors. Although we did not observe alterations in sociability, Dio3-/- mice of both sexes exhibited a significant increase in aggression-related behaviors and mild deficits in olfactory function. In addition, 85% of Dio3-/- dams manifested no pup-retrieval behavior and increased aggression toward the newborns. The abnormal social behaviors of Dio3-/- mice were associated with sexually dimorphic alterations in the physiology of oxytocin (OXT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP), 2 neuropeptides with important roles in determining social interactions. These alterations included low adult serum levels of OXT and AVP, and an abnormal expression of Oxt, Avp and their receptors in the neonatal and adult hypothalamus. Our results demonstrate that DIO3 is essential for normal aggression and maternal behaviors, and indicate that abnormal local regulation of thyroid hormone action in the brain may contribute to the social deficits associated with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is predicted that RNA modifications may be just as important for synaptic plasticity and memory as quantitative changes in transcript and protein abundance, but with the added advantage of not being required to signal back to the nucleus, and therefore better suited to be coordinated with the temporal dynamics of learning.
Abstract: In this short review, we highlight recent findings in the emerging field of epitranscriptomic mechanisms and discuss their potential role in neural plasticity, learning and memory. These include the influence of RNA modifications on activity-induced RNA structure states, RNA editing and RNA localization, and how qualitative state changes in RNA increase the functional diversity and information-carrying capacity of RNA molecules. We predict that RNA modifications may be just as important for synaptic plasticity and memory as quantitative changes in transcript and protein abundance, but with the added advantage of not being required to signal back to the nucleus, and therefore better suited to be coordinated with the temporal dynamics of learning.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: DAT‐KO rats may show some inattention while more novelty‐seeking traits appear in DAT‐HET rats, a new animal model of this disorder developed in rats with genetic deletion of the dopamine transporter gene.
Abstract: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by a developmentally inappropriate, pervasive and persistent pattern of severe inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Despite onset in early childhood, ADHD may continue into adulthood with substantial impairment in social, academic and occupational functioning. A new animal model of this disorder was developed in rats with genetic deletion of the dopamine transporter (DAT) gene (dopamine transporter knockout rats; DAT-KO rats). We analyzed the behavior of DAT-KO rats for a deeper phenotypical characterization of this model. We first tested rats of the 3 genotypes at different ages (preadolescent, adolescent and adult), in a novelty-seeking test using a black/white box (Experiment 1). After that, we tested adult rats in a novelty-preference test using a 3-chamber apparatus with different shapes (Experiment 2). Experiment 1: as evidenced by analysis of time spent in the novel environment, adult DAT heterozygous (DAT-HET) rats show an increased curiosity-driven exploration compared with wild-type (WT) controls while DAT-KO rats did not recognize novelty. The locomotor activity data show a minimal difference between genotypes at adolescent age while the preadolescent and adult DAT-KO rats have significantly increased activity rate compared with WT and DAT-HET subjects. Experiment 2: in this case, due to more clearly evident spatial differences, time spent in novel environment was not significantly different among genotypes. During first 10 minutes, DAT-KO rats showed a decreased hyperactivity, apparently related to curiosity and attention to the new environments. In conclusion, DAT-KO rats may show some inattention while more novelty-seeking traits appear in DAT-HET rats.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The history of automated behavioral analysis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is summarized and recent studies of learning and memory are highlighted to exemplify just how complex the genetic and neural circuit mechanisms underlying a seemingly simple single behavioral response can be.
Abstract: The development and application of methods for automated behavioral analysis have revolutionized behavioral genetics across model organisms. In this review we summarize the history of automated behavioral analysis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We highlight recent studies of learning and memory to exemplify just how complex the genetic and neural circuit mechanisms underlying a seemingly simple single behavioral response can be. We finish by looking forward at the exciting prospects of combing genomic technologies with connectomic and phenomic level measurements.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: STXBP1 mutational analysis should be performed in cases of EOEE of unknown etiology, and LEV as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy with other regimens, as well as KD should be considered for management of this patient group.
Abstract: To detect syntaxin-binding protein 1 (STXBP1) mutations in Chinese patients with early onset epileptic encephalopathy (EOEE) of unknown etiology. Targeted next-generation sequencing was used to identify STXBP1 mutations in 143 Chinese patients with EOEE of unknown etiology. A filtering process was applied to prioritize rare variants of potential functional significance. Then Sanger sequencing was employed to validate the parental origin of the variants. Detailed clinical and genetic data were collected for 9 STXBP1-positive patients. Eight de novo heterozygous STXBP1 mutations were identified in 9 patients; 5 were novel mutations (c.1155delC, c.1030-1G>A, c.217G>C, c.268G>C, c.1480_1481 insT) and 3 were previously reported (c.1216C> T, c.1217G>A [2 cases], c.875G>A). Two patients had Ohtahara syndrome and 1 had West syndrome at onset, whereas the other 6 presented with EOEE that did not fit a specific recognized epilepsy syndrome. Six of these patients later evolved to West syndrome. All but 2 cases were prescribed more than 2 antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) plus other regimens. Four subjects showed good responses to levetiracetam (LEV) alone or in combination with other AEDs, and one case (1/3) achieved complete freedom from seizures with a ketogenic diet (KD). All patients exhibited severe to profound global developmental delay. Five novel heterozygous de novo STXBP1 mutations were discovered in patients with EOEE from China. STXBP1 mutational analysis should be performed in cases of EOEE of unknown etiology. LEV as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy with other regimens, as well as KD should be considered for management of this patient group.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This study demonstrates that improvement of early care‐giving environment can be used as a disease‐modifying treatment to counteract epileptogenesis and behavioral comorbidities in genetic absence epilepsy.
Abstract: WAG/Rij rats, a genetic animal model of absence epilepsy with comorbidity of depression, exhibit behavioral depression-like symptoms and spontaneous generalized spike-wave discharges (SWDs) in the EEG at the age of 6 to 8 months. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that maternal care is an environmental factor which, along with genetic predisposition, may contribute to the expression of absence seizures and depression-like comorbidity later in life. To achieve this, a cross-fostering procedure was used. EEG and behavior in the forced swimming test were analyzed in WAG/Rij and Wistar offspring reared by their own mothers (non-cross-fostered), foster mothers of the same strain (in-fostered) or another strain (cross-fostered) at the age of 7 to 8 months. Maternal care and forced swimming test behavior were assessed in the dams. WAG/Rij mothers showed depression-like behavior and reduced maternal care irrespective of litter size and litter composition (own or foster pups) compared with Wistar dams. WAG/Rij offspring reared by Wistar dams with a high level of maternal care exhibited less and shorter SWDs and reduced depression-like comorbidity in adulthood compared with age-matched WAG/Rij offspring reared by their own or foster WAG/Rij mothers with a low level of maternal care. Moreover, rearing by Wistar mothers delayed the onset of absence epilepsy in WAG/Rij rats. Adoption by WAG/Rij dams did not change EEG and behavior in Wistar rats. Our study demonstrates that improvement of early care-giving environment can be used as a disease-modifying treatment to counteract epileptogenesis and behavioral comorbidities in genetic absence epilepsy.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The objective of this study was to quantify the temporal expression of transcripts associated with DA signaling during early stages of zebrafish development and determine their expression profiles following treatment with a D2 receptor antagonist domperidone.
Abstract: Dopamine (DA) plays a significant role in cognition, motor function and social behavior. The objectives of this study were to (1) quantify the temporal expression of transcripts (DA receptors, transporters and tyrosine hydroxylase) associated with DA signaling during early stages of zebrafish development and (2) determine their expression profiles following treatment with a D2 receptor antagonist domperidone (DMP). We also assessed locomotor behavior following treatment with DMP using alternating periods of light and dark (ie, dark photokinesis), as DA plays a key role in behavior. Relative expression levels of transcripts that were investigated and related to the DA system were detected after the first 24 hours postfertilization (hpf). Some DA receptor transcripts (eg, drd4c) increased in abundance earlier in the embryo compared with other receptors (eg, drd3), suggesting that DA receptor paralogs may have unique roles in development. Treatment of larvae with DMP resulted in the upregulation of DA receptor transcripts (ie, drd1, drd7, drd4b, drd4c) and DA transporter 1 (ie, slc6a3), and it is hypothesized that upregulation of genes related to the DA system is a compensatory neurophysiological response to DA receptor antagonism. Larval activity during dark photokinesis (measured by distance traveled) was also elevated by DMP. We hypothesize that behavioral responses observed with DMP may be related to the regulation of deep brain photoreception in zebrafish (Danio rerio) (ZF) larvae by DA.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results could be explained by the existence of one main population of striatal postsynaptic A2AR‐D2R heteromers, which may constitute a relevant target for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
Abstract: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) exhibit the ability to form receptor complexes that include molecularly different GPCR (ie, GPCR heteromers), which endow them with singular functional and pharmacological characteristics. The relative expression of GPCR heteromers remains a matter of intense debate. Recent studies support that adenosine A2A receptors (A2A R) and dopamine D2 receptors (D2 R) predominantly form A2A R-D2 R heteromers in the striatum. The aim of the present study was evaluating the behavioral effects of pharmacological manipulation and genetic blockade of A2A R and D2 R within the frame of such a predominant striatal heteromeric population. First, in order to avoid possible strain-related differences, a new D2 R-deficient mouse with the same genetic background (CD-1) than the A2A R knock-out mouse was generated. Locomotor activity, pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) and drug-induced catalepsy were then evaluated in wild-type, A2A R and D2 R knock-out mice, with and without the concomitant administration of either the D2 R agonist sumanirole or the A2A R antagonist SCH442416. SCH442416-mediated locomotor effects were demonstrated to be dependent on D2 R signaling. Similarly, a significant dependence on A2A R signaling was observed for PPI and for haloperidol-induced catalepsy. The results could be explained by the existence of one main population of striatal postsynaptic A2A R-D2 R heteromers, which may constitute a relevant target for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The first evidence of a methodologically and statistically sound approach for identifying EPs for DD to be exploited as a solid alternative basis to clinical phenotypes in neuroscience is provided.
Abstract: Although a genetic component is known to have an important role in the etiology of developmental dyslexia (DD), we are far from understanding the molecular etiopathogenetic pathways. Reduced measures of neurobiological functioning related to reading (dis)ability, i.e. endophenotypes (EPs), are promising targets for gene finding and the elucidation of the underlying mechanisms. In a sample of 100 nuclear families with DD (229 offspring) and 83 unrelated typical readers, we tested whether a set of well-established, cognitive phenotypes related to DD [i.e. rapid auditory processing (RAP), rapid automatized naming (RAN), multisensory nonspatial attention and visual motion processing] fulfilled the criteria of the EP construct. Visual motion and RAP satisfied all testable criteria (i.e. they are heritable, associate with the disorder, co-segregate with the disorder within a family and represent reproducible measures) and are therefore solid EPs of DD. Multisensory nonspatial attention satisfied three of four criteria (i.e. it associates with the disorder, co-segregates with the disorder within a family and represents a reproducible measure) and is therefore a potential EP for DD. Rapid automatized naming is heritable but does not meet other criteria of the EP construct. We provide the first evidence of a methodologically and statistically sound approach for identifying EPs for DD to be exploited as a solid alternative basis to clinical phenotypes in neuroscience.