Pubmed du 05/12/09

lundi 7 décembre 2009

1. Correia C, Coutinho AM, Almeida J, Lontro R, Lobo C, Miguel TS, Martins M, Gallagher L, Conroy J, Gill M, Oliveira G, Vicente AM. Association of the alpha4 integrin subunit gene (ITGA4) with autism. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet ;2009 (Dec 5) ;150B(8):1147-1151.

In the present work, we provide further evidence for the involvement of the integrin alpha-4 precursor gene (ITGA4) in the etiology of autism, by replicating previous findings of a genetic association with autism in various independent populations. The ITGA4 gene maps to the autism linkage region on 2q31-33 and is therefore a plausible positional candidate. We tested eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ITGA4 gene region for association with autism in a sample of 164 nuclear families. Evidence for association was found for the rs155100 marker (P = 0.019) and for a number of specific marker haplotypes containing this SNP (0.00053 < P < 0.022). alpha4 integrins are known to play a key role in neuroinflammatory processes, which are hypothesized to contribute to autism. In this study, an association was found between the ITGA4 rs1449263 marker and levels of a serum autoantibody directed to brain tissue, which was previously shown to be significantly more frequent in autistic patients than in age-matched controls in our population. This result suggests that the ITGA4 gene could be involved in a neuroimmune process thought to occur in autistic patients and, together with previous findings, offers a new perspective on the role of integrins in the etiology of autism to which little attention has been paid so far. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

2. De Filippis B, Ricceri L, Laviola G. Early postnatal behavioral changes in the Mecp2-308 truncation mouse model of Rett syndrome. Genes Brain Behav ;2009 (Nov 2)

In a mouse model of Rett syndrome (RTT) which expresses a truncated form of methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (Mecp2) gene (Mecp2-308), we performed a neurobehavioral evaluation across the life span, starting from soon after birth till adulthood. A focus was made on those developmental phases and behavioral domains which have not been previously investigated. The results evidenced subtle anomalies on postnatal days (pnds) 3 to 9 (so-called presymptomatic phase) in spontaneous movements by hemizygous neonatal male mice. Specifically as early as pnd 3, mutant pups exhibited more intense curling and more side responses and on pnd 9 more pivoting and head rising behaviors than wild type (wt) littermates. A significant decrease in ultrasonic vocalization rate, also emerged in Mecp2-308 pups. The same mice were also characterized by increased anxiety-like behaviors (open-field and zero-maze tests) during the early symptomatic phase, in the absence of changes in cognitive passive-avoidance task and rotarod performances. Upon the clearly symptomatic stage, 5-month-old Mecp2-308 mice were also associated with reduced spontaneous home-cage motor activity, motor coordination impairments (rotarod and dowel tests), and a more marked profile of d-amphetamine (10 mg/kg) released stereotyped behavioral syndrome than wt mice. Present results provide an interesting timeline of the progression of symptoms in the Mecp2-308 model and emphasize the need for increased attention to the presymptomatic phase which may be especially informative in mouse models of human neurodevelopmental disorders. This analysis has provided evidence of precocious behavioral markers of RTT and has identified an early developmental window of opportunities on which potential therapies could be investigated.

3. Veenstra-Vanderweele J, Jessen TN, Thompson BJ, Carter M, Prasad HC, Steiner JA, Sutcliffe JS, Blakely RD. Modeling rare gene variation to gain insight into the oldest biomarker in autism : construction of the serotonin transporter Gly56Ala knock-in mouse. J Neurodev Disord ;2009 (Jun 1) ;1(2):158-171.

Alterations in peripheral and central indices of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) production, storage and signaling have long been associated with autism. The 5-HT transporter gene (HTT, SERT, SLC6A4) has received considerable attention as a potential risk locus for autism-spectrum disorders, as well as disorders with overlapping symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Here, we review our efforts to characterize rare, nonsynonymous polymorphisms in SERT derived from multiplex pedigrees carrying diagnoses of autism and OCD and present the initial stages of our effort to model one of these variants, Gly56Ala, in vivo. We generated a targeting vector to produce the Gly56Ala substitution in the Slc6a4 locus by homologous recombination. Following removal of a neomycin resistance selection cassette, animals exhibiting germline transmission of the Ala56 variant were bred to establish a breeding colony on a 129S6 background, suitable for initial evaluation of biochemical, physiological and behavioral alterations relative to SERT Gly56 (wild-type) animals. SERT Ala56 mice were achieved and exhibit a normal pattern of transmission. The initial growth and gross morphology of these animals is comparable to wildtype littermate controls. The SERT Ala56 variant can be propagated in 129S6 mice without apparent disruption of fertility and growth. We discuss both the opportunities and challenges that await the physiological/behavioral analysis of Gly56Ala transgenic mice, with particular reference to modeling autism-associated traits.


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