Behavioral and neurochemical characterization of the mlh mutant mice lacking otoconia.


Claudia Madalena Cabrera Mori


Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Otoconia are crucial for the correct processing of positional information and orientation. Mice lacking otoconia cannot sense the direction of the gravity vector and cannot swim properly. This study aims to characterize the behavior of mergulhador (mlh), otoconia-deficient mutant mice. Additionally, the central catecholamine levels were evaluated to investigate possible correlations between behaviors and central neurotransmitters. A sequence of behavioral tests was used to evaluate the parameters related to the general activity, sensory nervous system, psychomotor system, and autonomous nervous system, in addition to measuring the acquisition of spatial and declarative memory, anxiety-like behavior, motor coordination, and swimming behavior of the mlh mutant mice. As well, the neurotransmitter levels in the cerebellum, striatum, frontal cortex, and hippocampus were measured. Relative to BALB/c mice, the mutant mlh mice showed 1) reduced locomotor and rearing behavior, increased auricular and touch reflexes, decreased motor coordination and increased micturition; 2) decreased responses in the T-maze and aversive wooden beam tests; 3) increased time of immobility in the tail suspension test; 4) no effects in the elevated plus maze or object recognition test; 5) an inability to swim; and 6) reduced turnover of dopaminergic system in the cerebellum, striatum, and frontal cortex. Thus, in our mlh mutant mice, otoconia deficiency reduced the motor, sensory and spatial learning behaviors likely by impairing balance. We did not rule out the role of the dopaminergic system in all behavioral deficits of the mlh mutant mice.


Balance disorder,Dopaminergic system,Open field,Otopetrin 1,Sensory system,T-maze,

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