Glyoxalase 1 and glutathione reductase 1 regulate anxiety in mice

Nature. 2005 Dec 1;438(7068):662-6. doi: 10.1038/nature04250. Epub 2005 Oct 23.


Anxiety and fear are normal emotional responses to threatening situations. In human anxiety disorders--such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, specific phobias and generalized anxiety disorder--these responses are exaggerated. The molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of normal and pathological anxiety are mostly unknown. However, the availability of different inbred strains of mice offers an excellent model system in which to study the genetics of certain behavioural phenotypes. Here we report, using a combination of behavioural analysis of six inbred mouse strains with quantitative gene expression profiling of several brain regions, the identification of 17 genes with expression patterns that correlate with anxiety-like behavioural phenotypes. To determine if two of the genes, glyoxalase 1 and glutathione reductase 1, have a causal role in the genesis of anxiety, we performed genetic manipulation using lentivirus-mediated gene transfer. Local overexpression of these genes in the mouse brain resulted in increased anxiety-like behaviour, while local inhibition of glyoxalase 1 expression by RNA interference decreased the anxiety-like behaviour. Both of these genes are involved in oxidative stress metabolism, linking this pathway with anxiety-related behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / enzymology*
  • Anxiety / genetics*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glutathione Reductase / genetics
  • Glutathione Reductase / metabolism*
  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase / genetics
  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase / metabolism*
  • Lentivirus / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • Glutathione Reductase
  • Lactoylglutathione Lyase