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Social, communication, and cortical structural impairments in Epac2-deficient mice.

Deficits in social and communication behaviors are common features of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the molecular and cellular substrates of these higher order brain functions are not well understood. Here we report that specific alterations in social and communication behaviors in mice occur as a result of loss of the EPAC2 gene, which encodes a protein kinase A-independent cAMP target. Epac2-deficient mice exhibited robust deficits in social interactions and ultrasonic vocalizations, but displayed normal olfaction, working and reference memory, motor abilities, anxiety, and repetitive behaviors. Epac2-deficient mice displayed abnormal columnar organization in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region implicated in social behavior in humans, but not in somatosensory cortex. In vivo two-photon imaging revealed reduced dendritic spine motility and density on cortical neurons in Epac2-deficient mice, indicating deficits at the synaptic level. Together, these findings provide novel insight into the molecular and cellular substrates of social and communication behavior.

Pubmed ID: 22915127 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Dendritic Spines | Exploratory Behavior | Female | Green Fluorescent Proteins | Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors | Locomotion | Male | Maze Learning | Mice | Mice, Inbred C57BL | Mice, Transgenic | Neurons | Social Behavior | Somatosensory Cortex | Statistics, Nonparametric | Vocalization, Animal

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: 5R21MH085117-02
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: F31MH085362
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: F31 MH085362
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: 2R01MH071316
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R21 MH085117
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: 1R01MH-086784
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH097216
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH086784
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: 1R01HD-065279
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: 1R01MH097216
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: P30NS054850
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: T32 HD040127
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH094835
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: P30 NS054850
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: 1R01MH094835
  • Agency: NICHD NIH HHS, Id: R01 HD065279
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH071316

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