Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

A mouse model of 22q11.2 deletions: Molecular and behavioral signatures of Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia

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Science Advances  15 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaar6637
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar6637


Individuals with chromosome 22q11.2 deletions are at increased risk of developing psychiatric conditions, most notably, schizophrenia (SZ). Recently, clinical studies have also implicated these recurrent 22q11.2 deletions with the risk of early-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Thus far, the multiple mouse models generated for 22q11.2 deletions have been studied primarily in the context of congenital cardiac, neurodevelopmental, and psychotic disorders. One of these is the Df1/+ model, in which SZ-associated and developmental abnormalities have been reported. We present the first evidence that the mouse model for the 22q11.2 deletion exhibits motor coordination deficits and molecular signatures (that is, elevated α-synuclein expression) relevant to PD. Reducing the α-synuclein gene dosage in Df1/+ mice ameliorated the motor deficits. Thus, this model of the 22q11.2 deletion shows signatures of both SZ and PD at the molecular and behavioral levels. In addition, both SZ-associated and PD-relevant deficits in the model were ameliorated by treatment with a rapamycin analog, CCI-779. We now posit the utility of 22q11.2 deletion mouse models in investigating the mechanisms of SZ- and PD-associated manifestations that could shed light on possible common pathways of these neuropsychiatric disorders.

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