Regional brain volumes changes in adult male FMR1-KO mouse on the FVB strain
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Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most common heritable single gene cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). FMR1-KO mice mimic the etiology and phenotypic manifestations of FXS. Neuroanatomical changes in specific brain regions have been reported in clinical settings and in preclinical models. FMR1-KO mice have been generated in different strains including C57Bl/6 (B6) and FVB. Mice on different genetic backgrounds have stable yet distinct behavioral phenotypes that may lead to unique gene-strain interactions on brain structure. Previous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have examined FMR1 knockout male mice on a B6 and found few differences compared to wild-type mice. Here, we examine brain volumes in FMR1 knockout male mice on a FVB background using high resolution (multi-channel 7.0Tesla) MRI. We observe multiple differences in the neuroanatomy of male FMR1-/y mice on a FVB background. Significantly larger relative volume (% total brain volume) differences were found in major white matter structures throughout the brain. In addition, there were changes in areas associated with fronto-striatal circuitry and other regions. Functional and structural connectivity differences are often seen in human ASD, and therefore, this increased white matter seen in the FMR1-KO-FVB could be highlighting a structural over-connectivity, which could lead to some of the behavioral abnormalities seen with the FMR1-KO-FVB mice. Furthermore, these results highlight the importance of genetic strain contribution to brain structure.
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