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Remmelink E.,Sylics Synaptologics B.V. | Remmelink E.,VU University Amsterdam | Chau U.,Sylics Synaptologics B.V. | Smit A.B.,VU University Amsterdam | And 2 more authors.
Scientific Reports | Year: 2017

Many psychiatric disorders emerge during adolescence. The study of executive functions in animal models of these disorders critically requires short-duration tasks measuring these functions before the animal ages. Here, a novel 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) protocol is presented, to measure attention and impulsivity within one week, without scheduled food deprivation and with little animal handling. Mice were allowed 24-h/day task access from their home-cage, during which they could self-pace task progression and earn unlimited food rewards depending on task performance. Manipulation of task parameters in this self-paced 5-CSRTT protocol (SP-5C) affected attentional performance and impulsivity to a similar extent as previously observed in the 5-CSRTT. Task activity followed intrinsic circadian rhythm, distinctive for the SP-5C protocol, with task performance stable over the day. The sensitivity of the SP-5C protocol to detect strain differences between C57BL/6J, DBA/2 J, BXD16 and BXD62 mice was demonstrated as well as its suitability for testing adolescent mice. Acute administration of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist scopolamine impaired attentional performance, providing initial pharmacological validation of the task. The SP-5C substantially shortens the assessment of impulsivity and attention, increases test efficiency and enables the assessment of adolescent mouse models of psychiatric disorders. © 2017 The Author(s).


PubMed | Danone Nutricia Research, Sylics Synaptologics BV and University of Groningen
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of nutrition | Year: 2016

Infant cognitive development can be positively influenced by breastfeeding rather than formula feeding. The composition of breast milk, especially lipid quality, and the duration of breastfeeding have been linked to this effect.We investigated whether the physical properties and composition of lipid droplets in milk may contribute to cognitive development.From postnatal day (P) 16 to P44, healthy male C57BL/6JOlaHsd mice were fed either a control or a concept rodent diet, in which the dietary lipid droplets were large and coated with milk phospholipids, resembling more closely the physical properties and composition of breast milk lipids. Thereafter, all mice were fed an AIN-93M semisynthetic rodent diet. The mice were subjected to various cognitive tests during adolescence (P35-P44) and adulthood (P70-P101). On P102, mice were killed and brain phospholipids were analyzed.The concept diet improved performance in short-term memory tasks that rely on novelty exploration during adolescence (T-maze; spontaneous alternation 87% in concept-fed mice compared with 74% in mice fed control diet; P < 0.05) and adulthood (novel object recognition; preference index 0.48 in concept-fed mice compared with 0.05 in control-fed mice; P < 0.05). Cognitive performance in long-term memory tasks, however, was unaffected by diet. Brain phospholipid composition at P102 was not different between diet groups.Exposure to a diet with lipids mimicking more closely the structure and composition of lipids in breast milk improved specific cognitive behaviors in mice. These data suggest that lipid structure should be considered as a relevant target to improve dietary lipid quality in infant milk formulas.


Maroteaux G.,VU University Amsterdam | Loos M.,VU University Amsterdam | Loos M.,Sylics Synaptologics BV | van der Sluis S.,VU University Amsterdam | And 9 more authors.
Genes, Brain and Behavior | Year: 2012

Marked cognitive responses in 3, but not other inbred mouse lines in automated avoidance learning screening. Recognizing and avoiding aversive situations are central aspects of mammalian cognition. These abilities are essential for health and survival and are expected to have a prominent genetic basis. We modeled these abilities in eight common mouse inbred strains covering ∼75% of the species' natural variation and in gene-trap mice (>2000 mice), using an unsupervised, automated assay with an instrumented home cage (PhenoTyper) containing a shelter with two entrances. Mice visited this shelter for 20-1200 times/24 h and 71% of all mice developed a significant and often strong preference for one entrance. Subsequently, a mild aversive stimulus (shelter illumination) was automatically delivered when mice used their preferred entrance. Different genotypes developed different coping strategies. Firstly, the number of entries via the preferred entrance decreased in DBA/2J, C57BL/6J and 129S1/SvImJ, indicating that these genotypes associated one specific entrance with the aversive stimulus. Secondly, mice started sleeping outside (C57BL/6J, DBA/2J), indicating they associated the shelter, in general, with the aversive stimulus. Some mice showed no evidence for an association between the entrance and the aversive light, but did show markedly shorter shelter residence times in response to illumination, indicating they did perceive illumination as aversive. Finally, using this assay, we screened 43 different mutants, which yielded a novel gene, specc1/cytospinB. This mutant showed profound and specific delay in avoidance learning. Together, these data suggest that different genotypes express distinct learning and/or memory of associations between shelter entrance and aversive stimuli, and that specc1/cytospinB is involved in this aspect of cognition. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.


Seigers R.,Netherlands Cancer Institute | Loos M.,Sylics Synaptologics BV | Van Tellingen O.,Netherlands Cancer Institute | Boogerd W.,Netherlands Cancer Institute | And 2 more authors.
Psychopharmacology | Year: 2015

Rationale and objectives: Adjuvant chemotherapy is associated with changes in cognition in a subgroup of cancer patients. Chemotherapy is generally given as a combination of cytotoxic agents, which makes it hard to define the agent responsible for these observed changes. Literature on animal experiments has been difficult to interpret due to variance in experimental setup. Methods: We examined the effects of cytotoxic agents administered separately on various cognitive measures in a standardized animal model. Male C57Bl/6 mice received cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, or topotecan. These agents represent different compound classes based on their working mechanism and are frequently prescribed in the clinic. A control group received saline. Behavioral testing started 2 or 15 weeks after treatment and included testing general measures of behavior and cognitive task performance: spontaneous behavior in an automated home cage, open field, novel location recognition (NLR), novel object recognition (NOR), Barnes maze, contextual fear conditioning, and a simple choice reaction time task (SCRTT). Results: Cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, and doxorubicin administration affected spontaneous activity in the automated home cage. All cytotoxic agents affected memory (NLR and/or NOR). Spatial memory measured in the Barnes maze was affected after administration with doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, and topotecan. Decreased inhibition in the SCRTT was observed after treatment with cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, and topotecan. Conclusions: Our data show that, in mice, a single treatment with a cytotoxic agent causes cognitive impairment. Not all cytotoxic agents affected the same cognitive domains, which might be explained by differences in working mechanisms of the various agents. © Springer-Verlag 2014.


PubMed | VU University Amsterdam and Sylics Synaptologics BV
Type: | Journal: Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2016

This chapter describes a use case for the genetic dissection and automated analysis of complex behavioral traits using the genetically diverse panel of BXD mouse recombinant inbred strains. Strains of the BXD resource differ widely in terms of gene and protein expression in the brain, as well as in their behavioral repertoire. A large mouse resource opens the possibility for gene finding studies underlying distinct behavioral phenotypes, however, such a resource poses a challenge in behavioral phenotyping. To address the specifics of large-scale screening we describe how to investigate: (1) how to assess mouse behavior systematically in addressing a large genetic cohort, (2) how to dissect automation-derived longitudinal mouse behavior into quantitative parameters, and (3) how to map these quantitative traits to the genome, deriving loci underlying aspects of behavior.


PubMed | University Utrecht, VU University Amsterdam, Sylics Synaptologics BV and Osaka University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Biological psychiatry | Year: 2015

Quantitative genetic analysis of basic mouse behaviors is a powerful tool to identify novel genetic phenotypes contributing to neurobehavioral disorders. Here, we analyzed genetic contributions to single-trial, long-term social and nonsocial recognition and subsequently studied the functional impact of an identified candidate gene on behavioral development.Genetic mapping of single-trial social recognition was performed in chromosome substitution strains, a sophisticated tool for detecting quantitative trait loci (QTL) of complex traits. Follow-up occurred by generating and testing knockout (KO) mice of a selected QTL candidate gene. Functional characterization of these mice was performed through behavioral and neurological assessments across developmental stages and analyses of gene expression and brain morphology.Chromosome substitution strain 14 mapping studies revealed an overlapping QTL related to long-term social and object recognition harboring Pcdh9, a cell-adhesion gene previously associated with autism spectrum disorder. Specific long-term social and object recognition deficits were confirmed in homozygous (KO) Pcdh9-deficient mice, while heterozygous mice only showed long-term social recognition impairment. The recognition deficits in KO mice were not associated with alterations in perception, multi-trial discrimination learning, sociability, behavioral flexibility, or fear memory. Rather, KO mice showed additional impairments in sensorimotor development reflected by early touch-evoked biting, rotarod performance, and sensory gating deficits. This profile emerged with structural changes in deep layers of sensory cortices, where Pcdh9 is selectively expressed.This behavior-to-gene study implicates Pcdh9 in cognitive functions required for long-term social and nonsocial recognition. This role is supported by the involvement of Pcdh9 in sensory cortex development and sensorimotor phenotypes.


PubMed | Erasmus Medical Center, VU University Amsterdam, University of Hamburg and Sylics Synaptologics BV
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of cell biology | Year: 2015

Synaptic plasticity requires remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. Although two actin isoforms, - and -actin, are expressed in dendritic spines, the specific contribution of -actin in the expression of synaptic plasticity is unknown. We show that synaptic -actin levels are regulated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM3. TRIM3 protein and Actg1 transcript are colocalized in messenger ribonucleoprotein granules responsible for the dendritic targeting of messenger RNAs. TRIM3 polyubiquitylates -actin, most likely cotranslationally at synaptic sites. Trim3(-/-) mice consequently have increased levels of -actin at hippocampal synapses, resulting in higher spine densities, increased long-term potentiation, and enhanced short-term contextual fear memory consolidation. Interestingly, hippocampal deletion of Actg1 caused an increase in long-term fear memory. Collectively, our findings suggest that temporal control of -actin levels by TRIM3 is required to regulate the timing of hippocampal plasticity. We propose a model in which TRIM3 regulates synaptic -actin turnover and actin filament stability and thus forms a transient inhibitory constraint on the expression of hippocampal synaptic plasticity.


PubMed | VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands Cancer Institute and Sylics Synaptologics BV
Type: | Journal: Behavioural brain research | Year: 2015

Cognitive deficit is a frequently reported side-effect of adjuvant chemotherapy. A large number of animal studies has been performed to examine the neurobiological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, however, definite conclusions from these studies are restricted due to differences in experimental set-up. We systematically investigated the effects of 6 cytotoxic agents on various neurobiological parameters. C57Bl/6J mice were treated with cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, methotrexate, or topotecan. The animals were sacrificed 3 or 15 weeks after treatment and the effect on neurogenesis, blood vessel density, and neuroinflammation was analyzed using immunohistochemistry. None of the cytostatic agents tested affected neurogenesis (cell survival or cell proliferation). Blood vessel density was increased in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex 3 weeks after treatment with docetaxel and doxorubicin compared with control animals. A decrease in the number of microglial cells was observed in the prefrontal cortex after treatment with cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, 5-FU, and topotecan compared with control mice. The observed decrease in microglia cells is indicative of inflammation that occurred after treatment. Overall, the magnitude of the effects was relatively modest. Therefore, we conducted a similar study with topotecan in Abcg2;Abcb1a/b knock out and wildtype FVB mice. Animals were sacrificed 3 weeks after treatment and no notable effect was seen in hippocampal cell differentiation (DCX), microglia activation, or blood vessel density. Perhaps the FVB strain is more resistant to the neurotoxic effects of topotecan which makes this not the correct model to study the mechanism of chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment.


Geerts C.J.,VU University Amsterdam | Plomp J.J.,Leiden University | Koopmans B.,Sylics Synaptologics BV | Loos M.,Sylics Synaptologics BV | And 4 more authors.
Brain Structure and Function | Year: 2015

Tomosyn-1 (STXBP5) is a soluble NSF attachment protein receptor complex-binding protein that inhibits vesicle fusion, but the role of tomosyn-2 (STXBP5L) in the mammalian nervous system is still unclear. Here we generated tomosyn-2 null (Tom2KO/KO) mice, which showed impaired motor performance. This was accompanied by synaptic changes at the neuromuscular junction, including enhanced spontaneous acetylcholine release frequency and faster depression of muscle motor endplate potentials during repetitive stimulation. The postsynaptic geometric arrangement and function of acetylcholine receptors were normal. We conclude that tomosyn-2 supports motor performance by regulation of transmitter release willingness to sustain synaptic strength during high-frequency transmission, which makes this gene a candidate for involvement in neuromuscular disorders. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Remmelink E.,Sylics Synaptologics B.V. | Remmelink E.,VU University Amsterdam | Loos M.,Sylics Synaptologics B.V. | Koopmans B.,Sylics Synaptologics B.V. | And 3 more authors.
Behavioural Brain Research | Year: 2015

Individuals are able to change their behavior based on its consequences, a process involving instrumental learning. Studying instrumental learning in mice can provide new insights in this elementary aspect of cognition. Conventional appetitive operant learning tasks that facilitate the study of this form of learning in mice, as well as more complex operant paradigms, require labor-intensive handling and food deprivation to motivate the animals. Here, we describe a 1-night operant learning protocol that exploits the advantages of automated home-cage testing and circumvents the interfering effects of food restriction. The task builds on behavior that is part of the spontaneous exploratory repertoire during the days before the task. We compared the behavior of C57BL/6J, BALB/cJ and DBA/2J mice and found various differences in behavior during this task, but no differences in learning curves. BALB/cJ mice showed the largest instrumental learning response, providing a superior dynamic range and statistical power to study instrumental learning by using this protocol. Insights gained with this home-cage-based learning protocol without food restriction will be valuable for the development of other, more complex, cognitive tasks in automated home-cages. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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