Schizophrenia research 2017 07 13() pii S0920-9964(17)30417-6
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, as well as some mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, have been suggested to share common biological risk factors. One such factor is reelin, a large extracellular matrix glycoprotein that regulates neuronal migration during development as well as numerous activity-dependent processes in the adult brain. The current study sought to evaluate whether a history of stress exposure interacts with endogenous reelin levels to modify behavioural endophenotypes of relevance to psychotic and mood disorders.
Heterozygous Reeler Mice (HRM) and wildtype (WT) controls were treated with 50mg/L of corticosterone (CORT) in their drinking water from 6 to 9weeks of age, before undergoing behavioural testing in adulthood. We assessed methamphetamine-induced locomotor hyperactivity, prepulse inhibition (PPI) of acoustic startle, short-term spatial memory in the Y-maze, and depression-like behaviour in the Forced-Swim Test (FST).
HRM genotype or CORT treatment did not affect methamphetamine-induced locomotor hyperactivity, a model of psychosis-like behaviour. At baseline, HRM showed decreased PPI at the commonly used 100msec interstimulus interval (ISI), but not at the 30msec ISI or following challenge with apomorphine. A history of CORT exposure potentiated immobility in the FST amongst HRM, but not WT mice. In the Y-maze, chronic CORT treatment decreased novel arm preference amongst HRM, reflecting reduced short-term spatial memory.
These data confirm a significant role of endogenous reelin levels on stress-related behaviour, supporting a possible role in both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. However, an interaction of reelin deficiency with dopaminergic regulation of psychosis-like behaviour remains unclear.