PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Mental Health - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Pediatrics and Child Health

Sex-Dependent Novelty Response in Neurexin-1a Mutant Mice
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012
Author: Marijke C. Laarakker et al.

by Marijke C. Laarakker, Niels R. Reinders, Hilgo Bruining, Roel A. Ophoff, Martien J. H. Kas

Neurexin-1 alpha (NRXN1a) belongs to the family of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), which are involved in the formation of neuronal networks and synapses. NRXN1a gene mutations have been identified in neuropsychiatric diseases including Schizophrenia (SCZ) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In order to get a better understanding of the pleiotropic behavioral manifestations caused by NRXN1a gene mutations, we performed a behavioral study of Nrxn1a heterozygous knock-out (+/-) mice and observed increased responsiveness to novelty and accelerated habituation to novel environments compared to wild type (+/+) litter-mates. However, this effect was mainly observed in male mice, strongly suggesting that gender-specific mechanisms play an important role in Nrxn1a-induced phenotypes.