BackgroundAngelman Syndrome (AS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by impaired communication, motor and balance deficits, intellectual disabilities, recurring seizures and abnormal sleep patterns. The genetic cause of AS is neuronal-specific loss of expression of UBE3A (ubiquitin-protein ligase E6-AP), an imprinted gene. Seizure and sleep disorders are highly prevalent (> 80%) in the AS population. The present experiments were designed to identify translational, neurophysiological outcome measures in a model of AS.
MethodsWe used the exon-2 deletion mouse (Ube3a-del) on a C57BL/6J background to assess seizure, sleep and electrophysiological phenotypes. Seizure susceptibility has been reported in Ube3a-del mice with a variety of seizure induction methods. Here, we provoked seizures by a single high-dose injection of 80 mg/kg pentylenetetrazole. Novel experiments included the utilization of wireless telemetry devices to acquire global electroencephalogram (EEG) and neurophysiological data on electrographic seizures, power spectra, light-dark cycles, sleep stages and sleep spindles in Ube3a-del and WT mice.
ResultsUbe3a-del mice exhibited reduced seizure threshold compared to WT. EEG illustrated that Ube3a-del mice had increased epileptiform spiking activity and delta power, which corroborates findings from other laboratories and recapitulates clinical reports in AS. This is the first report to use a cortical surface-based recording by a wireless telemetry device over tethered/fixed head-mount depth recordings. Less time in both paradoxical and slow-wave sleep, longer latencies to paradoxical sleep stages and total less sleep time in Ube3a-del mice were observed compared to WT. For the first time, we detected fewer sleep spindles in the AS mouse model.
LimitationsThis study was limited to the exon 2 deletion mouse model, and future work will investigate the rat model of AS, containing a complete Ube3a deletion and pair EEG with behavior.
ConclusionsOur data enhance rigor and translatability as our study provides important corroboration of previous reports on epileptiform and elevated delta power. For the first time we report neurophysiological phenotypes collected via translational methodology. Furthermore, this is the first report of reduced sleep spindles, a critical marker of memory consolidation during sleep, in an AS model. Our results are useful outcomes for therapeutic testing.