Interhemispheric Neural Density Asymmetry of Insular Cortex in FMR1 Knock-Out Mice

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N. Ramírez; C. Maestu; M. Ramos & F. del Pozo


Fragile X syndrome in humans is caused by a mutation in the FMR1 gene and it is associated with severe mental retardation, hyperactivity and anxiety. Here we compare FMR1 Knock-Out mice, a model of Fragile-X syndrome, and wild-type mice with respect to the neuronal density of the insular cortex, a brain area associated with pain processing and anxiety management. Mice were also subjected to a spatial learning test in an anxiogenic environment. Results show significant asymmetry between neuronal density between left and right insula in knock out as compared to wild type mice. Behaviorally, although knock-out mice did not show deficits in task completion they explored the maze at a higher velocity than their wild-type counterparts. Furthermore, insular density asymmetry correlated with higher velocity during one of the spatial navigation tasks at the individual mouse level. These results suggest that insular neuronal density asymmetry in FMR1 Knot-Out mice may be considered as an anatomical correlate of the observed behavioral abnormalities.

KEY WORDS: FMRP; FMR1; Insular cortex; Pain way; Anxiety; Animal model.

How to cite this article

RAMÍREZ, N.; MAESTU, C.; RAMOS, M. & DEL POZO, F. Interhemispheric neural density asymmetry of insular cortex in FMR1 Knock-out mice. Int. J. Morphol., 32(4):1377-1382, 2014.