Unconventional transcriptional response to environmental enrichment in a mouse model of rett syndrome

Bredford Kerr, Pamela A. Silva, Katherina Walz, Juan I. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Rett syndrome (RTT) is an X-linked postnatal neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) and one of the leading causes of mental retardation in females. RTT is characterized by psychomotor retardation, purposeless hand movements, autistic-like behavior and abnormal gait. We studied the effects of environmental enrichment (EE) on the phenotypic manifestations of a RTT mouse model that lacks MeCP2 (Mecp2-ly). Principal Findings: We found that EE delayed and attenuated some neurological alterations presented by Mecp2-ly and prevented the development of motor discoordination and anxiety-related abnormalities. To define the molecular correlate of this beneficial effect of EE, we analyzed the expression of several synaptic marker genes whose expression is increased by EE in several mouse models. Conclusions/Significance: We found that EE induced downregulation of several synaptic markers, suggesting that the partial prevention of RTT-associated phenotypes is achieved through a non-conventional transcriptional program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere11534
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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