Newly discovered gene mutation reduces fear and anxiety, and increases social interaction

ScienceDaily | 5/2/2019 | Staff
TitanSwimr (Posted by) Level 3
The researches assessed the mice with a large behavioural test battery that included a novel type of test for the panic reaction. The mice were placed in an air-tight box that was first filled up with regular room air, then with 10% carbon dioxide. An elevated concentration of carbon dioxide induces an innate freezing reaction that is thought to resemble the feeling of suffocation in patients suffering from panic attacks. P4h-tm knockout mice displayed substantially less freezing than control mice in response to carbon dioxide exposure. In tests for social interaction, P4h-tm knockout mice made clearly more contact with another mouse than the controls. In addition, behavioural tests routinely used for screening antianxiety and antidepressant drugs revealed reduced fear, anxiety and learned helplessness in P4h-tm knockout mice. Further, the study found a connection between brain anatomy and the behavioural phenotype: the expression of the P4h-tm gene was especially high in the amygdala that plays a key role in controlling emotional reactions, including fear and anxiety.

The P4h-tm gene accounts for the transcription of the P4H-TM protein. This protein belongs to the family of prolyl-4-hydroxylases that play a pivotal role in the cellular adaptation to a sudden lack of oxygen. However, the P4H-TM protein differs from other prolyl-4-hydroxylases in both its structure and unusual location (endoplasmic reticulum). The physiological role of the P4H-TM protein remains elusive despite years of intensive research, but it is assumed to have other effects on cellular biology besides...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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