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    Disruption of sensorimotor gating causes "flooding" of irrelevant sensory input and is considered a congenital trait in several neurodevelopmental disorders. Prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle response (PPI) is the operational measurement and has a high translational validity. Pharmacological studies in rodents have linked alterations in serotonin, dopamine and glutamate signalling to PPI disruption. How PPI response is associated with gene expression levels of these receptors is unknown. PPI response was assessed in 39 genetically heterogeneous National Institutes of Health-Heterogeneous Stock (NIH-HS) rats. Animals were classified as high, medium or low PPI. Expression levels of glutamate metabotropic receptor 2 (Grm2), dopamine receptor D2 (Drd2), dopamine receptor D1 (Drd1), serotonin receptor 1A (Htr1a), serotonin receptor 2A (Htr2a) and homer scaffolding protein 1 (Homer1) were investigated in prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatum (STR). When comparing the two extreme phenotypes, only Drd2 in STR showed increased expression in the low PPI group. A multinomial model fitting all genes and all groups indicated that Grm2 in PFC, and Grm2 and Drd2 in the STR predicted PPI group. This was corroborated by a linear relationship of Grm2 with PPI in PFC, and Drd2 with PPI in STR. An interaction between levels of H3K27 trimethylation, associated with transcriptional repression, and PPI phenotype was observed for Drd2 in STR. Gene set enrichment analysis on a microarray dataset on Lewis rats confirmed enrichment of Drd2 in PFC in relation to PPI. These findings contribute to the understanding of the genetic substrate behind alterations in sensorimotor gating, relevant for its linkage to neurodevelopmental disorders.


    Tina Becher Østerbøg, Doan Minh On, Ignasi Oliveras, Cristóbal Río-Álamos, Ana Sanchez-Gonzalez, Carles Tapias-Espinosa, Adolf Tobeña, Javier González-Maeso, Alberto Fernández-Teruel, Susana Aznar. Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 2 and Dopamine Receptor 2 Gene Expression Predict Sensorimotor Gating Response in the Genetically Heterogeneous NIH-HS Rat Strain. Molecular neurobiology. 2020 Mar;57(3):1516-1528

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    PMID: 31782106

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