Glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibitors reverse deficits in long-term potentiation and cognition in fragile X mice

Aimee V. Franklin, Margaret K. King, Valle Palomo, Ana Martinez, Lori L. McMahon, Richard S. Jope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Background Identifying feasible therapeutic interventions is crucial for ameliorating the intellectual disability and other afflictions of fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and autism. Hippocampal glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) is hyperactive in the mouse model of FXS (FX mice), and hyperactive GSK3 promotes locomotor hyperactivity and audiogenic seizure susceptibility in FX mice, raising the possibility that specific GSK3 inhibitors may improve cognitive processes. Methods We tested if specific GSK3 inhibitors improve deficits in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-dependent long-term potentiation at medial perforant path synapses onto dentate granule cells and dentate gyrus-dependent cognitive behavioral tasks. Results GSK3 inhibitors completely rescued deficits in long-term potentiation at medial perforant path-dentate granule cells synapses in FX mice. Furthermore, synaptosomes from the dentate gyrus of FX mice displayed decreased inhibitory serine-phosphorylation of GSK3β compared with wild-type littermates. The potential therapeutic utility of GSK3 inhibitors was further tested on dentate gyrus-dependent cognitive behaviors. In vivo administration of GSK3 inhibitors completely reversed impairments in several cognitive tasks in FX mice, including novel object detection, coordinate and categorical spatial processing, and temporal ordering for visual objects. Conclusions These findings establish that synaptic plasticity and cognitive deficits in FX mice can be improved by intervention with inhibitors of GSK3, which may prove therapeutically beneficial in FXS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-206
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Cognition
  • fragile X syndrome
  • glycogen synthase kinase-3
  • learning
  • long-term potentiation (LTP)
  • synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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