Autistic-like behaviour and cerebellar dysfunction in Purkinje cell Tsc1 mutant mice.

Published

Journal Article

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are highly prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders, but the underlying pathogenesis remains poorly understood. Recent studies have implicated the cerebellum in these disorders, with post-mortem studies in ASD patients showing cerebellar Purkinje cell (PC) loss, and isolated cerebellar injury has been associated with a higher incidence of ASDs. However, the extent of cerebellar contribution to the pathogenesis of ASDs remains unclear. Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder with high rates of comorbid ASDs that result from mutation of either TSC1 or TSC2, whose protein products dimerize and negatively regulate mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling. TSC is an intriguing model to investigate the cerebellar contribution to the underlying pathogenesis of ASDs, as recent studies in TSC patients demonstrate cerebellar pathology and correlate cerebellar pathology with increased ASD symptomatology. Functional imaging also shows that TSC patients with ASDs display hypermetabolism in deep cerebellar structures, compared to TSC patients without ASDs. However, the roles of Tsc1 and the sequelae of Tsc1 dysfunction in the cerebellum have not been investigated so far. Here we show that both heterozygous and homozygous loss of Tsc1 in mouse cerebellar PCs results in autistic-like behaviours, including abnormal social interaction, repetitive behaviour and vocalizations, in addition to decreased PC excitability. Treatment of mutant mice with the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, prevented the pathological and behavioural deficits. These findings demonstrate new roles for Tsc1 in PC function and define a molecular basis for a cerebellar contribution to cognitive disorders such as autism.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tsai, PT; Hull, C; Chu, Y; Greene-Colozzi, E; Sadowski, AR; Leech, JM; Steinberg, J; Crawley, JN; Regehr, WG; Sahin, M

Published Date

  • August 30, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 488 / 7413

Start / End Page

  • 647 - 651

PubMed ID

  • 22763451

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22763451

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-4687

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nature11310

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • England