Disrupted temporal control in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington's disease

Behav Neurosci. 2009 Dec;123(6):1353-8. doi: 10.1037/a0017650.


Huntington's disease is characterized by corticostriatal dysfunction and degeneration of the striatum with progressive loss of the medium spiny neurons. These circuits are important for instrumental responding, interval timing, and temporal control over motor output. We investigated the acquisition of timed operant responding in two R6/2 Huntington's Disease models, differing in CAG repeat length and genetic background (115 and 250 CAG repeats, and a mixed CBAxC57 or pure C57 background) and their corresponding wild type controls using the peak procedure. Both mouse lines exhibited similar response control deficits. In unreinforced peak trials, mice either did not learn to terminate an ongoing response past reinforcement time or required more trials to acquisition compared to the wild type mice. While transgenic and wild type mice did not exhibit differences in temporal accuracy, response curves were flatter in transgenic mice, suggesting decreased temporal control over operant responding. The results are discussed in terms of the neurobiology of interval timing, instrumental responding, and the neuropathology of HD and R6/2 mice.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Huntington Disease / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion / genetics