Myelination and behaviour of tenascin-C null transgenic mice

Eur J Neurosci. 1999 Sep;11(9):3082-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00729.x.


The extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin-C is widely expressed during development and repair, making it surprising that few abnormalities have been found in transgenic mice lacking this molecule. We have therefore re-examined the transgenic mice described by Saga et al. [Saga, Y., Yagi, T., Ikawa, Y., Sakakura, T. & Aizawa, S. (1992) Genes Dev., 6 1821-1831] in which tenascin-C was knocked-out by homologous recombination, focusing on two aspects of the nervous system likely to reveal any abnormalities that might follow the loss of tenascin-C. First, we have determined the pattern of myelin and distribution of oligodendrocyte precursor cells in those areas, such as the optic nerve and retina where local concentrations of tenascin-C have been proposed to act as barriers to oligodendrocyte precursor migration and so prevent inappropriate myelination. Secondly, we have examined the behaviour of the mice in a number of well-characterized tests, e.g. beam-walking, passive avoidance and the Morris water maze. We find no abnormalities of myelination or oligodendrocyte precursor distribution in adult mice, showing that local concentrations of tenascin-C are not the sole mechanism responsible for the pattern of myelination in these regions of CNS. However, we do find a number of behavioural abnormalities in these mice and show that hyperlocomotion and deficits in coordination during beam walking can be ascribed to tenascin-C deficiency. The effects on coordination are, however, not seen on a 129 genetic background. Taken together, these results significantly extend the phenotype associated with tenascin-C deficiency but argue against a role in myelination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Direct
  • Heterozygote
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Activity / genetics
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Myelin Basic Protein / biosynthesis
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Reflex, Startle / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Tenascin / deficiency
  • Tenascin / genetics*
  • Tenascin / physiology*


  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Tenascin