Unaltered Hormonal Response to Stress in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2008 Jul;33(6):883-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.03.010. Epub 2008 May 13.


Reports in the clinical literature and studies of fmr1 knockout mice have led to the hypothesis that, in addition to mental retardation, fragile X syndrome is characterized by a dysregulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function. We have systematically examined this hypothesis by studying the effects of stress on adrenocorticotrophic hormone and corticosterone levels in adult, male fmr1 knockout mice. Initially we determined the circadian rhythms of the plasma hormone levels in both wild-type and fmr1 knockout mice and established the optimal time to impose the stress. We found no genotypic differences in the circadian rhythms of either hormone. We studied two types of stressors, immobilization and spatial novelty; spatial novelty was 5min in an elevated plus-maze. We varied the duration of immobilization and followed the time course of recovery of hormones to their pre-stress levels. Despite the lower anxiety exhibited by fmr1 knockout mice in the elevated plus-maze, hormonal responses to and recovery from this spatial novelty were similar in both genotypes. Further, we found no genotypic differences in hormonal responses to immobilization stress. The results of our study indicate that, in FVB/NJ mice, the hormonal response to and recovery from acute stress is unaltered by the lack of fragile X mental retardation protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein / genetics
  • Fragile X Syndrome / blood*
  • Fragile X Syndrome / metabolism
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / metabolism
  • Restraint, Physical / physiology
  • Stress, Psychological / blood*
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Fmr1 protein, mouse
  • Hormones
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone