Effect of NMDA receptor NR1 subunit gene expression across development on sociability, a schizophrenia-relevant behavior

Effect of NMDA receptor NR1 subunit gene expression across development on sociability, a schizophrenia-relevant behavior

Student: 
Ashley Pallathra '13
Sponsor: 
Dr Marc Brodkin
Department: 
Psychiatry
School: 
Medicine

Many neurodevelopmental brain disorders, such as schizophrenia, are characterized by significant social deficits. Various lines of evidence suggest the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor (NR1) is involved in the biology of sociability, which is defined as the tendency to seek social interaction. Ashley Pallathra used the Social Approach Test (SAT) to examine this behavior in mice. Mice with conditional deletion of NR1 in parvalbumin-positive interneurons and their wildtype littermates (WT) completed the SAT, once at age 30 days and once at age 10 weeks. Sociability in mice was measured by the amount of time the test mouse sniffed a gonadectomized stimulus mouse during the 30 minute experiment. Females saw a reduction in sociability as a function of age, while males did not demonstrate any significant differences. The results from both females and males show a trend of NR1 involvement in mediating sociability. However, the data does not elucidate a clear correlation between genotype, age, and NR1 expression.