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Loss of MeCP2 in cholinergic neurons causes part of RTT-like phenotypes via α7 receptor in hippocampus

  • Author(s): Zhang, Y
  • Cao, SX
  • Sun, P
  • He, HY
  • Yang, CH
  • Chen, XJ
  • Shen, CJ
  • Wang, XD
  • Chen, Z
  • Berg, DK
  • Duan, S
  • Li, XM
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2016 IBCB, SIBS, CAS All rights reserved. Mutations in the X-linked MECP2 gene cause Rett syndrome (RTT), an autism spectrum disorder characterized by impaired social interactions, motor abnormalities, cognitive defects and a high risk of epilepsy. Here, we showed that conditional deletion of Mecp2 in cholinergic neurons caused part of RTT-like phenotypes, which could be rescued by re-expressing Mecp2 in the basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic neurons rather than in the caudate putamen of conditional knockout (Chat-Mecp2-/y) mice. We found that choline acetyltransferase expression was decreased in the BF and that α7 nicotine acetylcholine receptor signaling was strongly impaired in the hippocampus of Chat-Mecp2-/y mice, which is sufficient to produce neuronal hyperexcitation and increase seizure susceptibility. Application of PNU282987 or nicotine in the hippocampus rescued these phenotypes in Chat-Mecp2-/y mice. Taken together, our findings suggest that MeCP2 is critical for normal function of cholinergic neurons and dysfunction of cholinergic neurons can contribute to numerous neuropsychiatric phenotypes.

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