Progressive tremor and motor impairment in seizure-prone mutant tremor mice are associated with neurotransmitter dysfunction

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Background The tremor mutant mice present motor impairments comprised of whole-body tremors, ataxia, decreased exploratory behavior, and audiogenic seizures. Objectives This study aims to investigate the development of motor dysfunction in this mutant mouse and the relationships with cortical, striatal, and cerebellar levels of GABA, glutamate, glycine, dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NOR), and its metabolites. The serum cytokines levels, myelin content, and the astrocytic expression of the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) investigated the possible influence of inflammation in motor dysfunction. Results Relative to wild-type (WT) mice, the tremor mice presented: increased tremors and bradykinesia associated with postural instability, decreased range of motion, and difficulty in initiating voluntary movements directly proportional to age; reduced step length for right and left hindlimbs; reduced cortical GABA, glutamate and, aspartate levels, the DOPAC/DA and ratio and increased the NOR levels; in the striatum, the levels of glycine and aspartate were reduced while the HVA levels, the HVA/DA and 5HIAA/5-HT ratios increased; in the cerebellum the glycine, NOR and 5-HIAA levels increased. Conclusions We suggest that the motor disturbances resulted mainly from the activation of the indirect striatal inhibitory pathway to the frontal cortex mediated by GABA, glutamate, and aspartate, reducing the dopaminergic activity at the prefrontal cortex, which was associated with the progressive tremor. The reduced striatal and increased cerebellar glycine levels could be partially responsible for the mutant tremor motor disturbances.
Gonçalves FB., Garcia-Gomes M.S.A., Silva-Sampaio AC, Lebrun I. Progressive tremor and motor impairment in seizure-prone mutant tremor mice are associated with neurotransmitter dysfunction. Behav Brain Res. 2023 Feb; in press. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2023.114329.
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