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Sleep/Wake Disruption in a Mouse Model of BLOC-1 Deficiency.


Mice lacking a functional Biogenesis of Lysosome-related Organelles Complex 1 (BLOC-1), such as those of the pallid line, display cognitive and behavioural impairments reminiscent of those presented by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Although disturbances in the sleep/wake cycle are commonly lamented by these individuals, the underlying mechanisms, including the possible role of the circadian timing system, are still unknown. In this paper, we have explored sleep/circadian malfunctions and underlying mechanisms in BLOC-1-deficient pallid mice. These mutants exhibited less sleep behaviour in the beginning of the resting phase than wild-type mice with a more broken sleeping pattern in normal light-dark conditions. Furthermore, the strength of the activity rhythms in the mutants were reduced with significantly more fragmentation and lower precision than in age-matched controls. These symptoms were accompanied by an abnormal preference for the open arm in the elevated plus maze in the day and poor performance in the novel object recognition at night. At the level of the central circadian clock (the suprachiasmatic nucleus, SCN), loss of BLOC-1 caused subtle morphological changes including a larger SCN and increased expression of the relative levels of the clock gene Per2 product during the day but did not affect the neuronal activity rhythms. In the hippocampus, the pallid mice presented with anomalies in the cytoarchitecture of the Dentate Gyrus granule cells, but not in CA1 pyramidal neurones, along with altered PER2 protein levels as well as reduced pCREB/tCREB ratio during the day. Our findings suggest that lack of BLOC-1 in mice disrupts the sleep/wake cycle and performance in behavioural tests associated with specific alterations in cytoarchitecture and protein expression.

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