Characterization of PTZ-induced seizure susceptibility in a down syndrome mouse model that overexpresses CSTB

PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27845. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027845. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Down syndrome (DS) is a complex genetic syndrome characterized by intellectual disability, dysmorphism and variable additional physiological traits. Current research progress has begun to decipher the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment, leading to new therapeutic perspectives. Pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) has recently been found to have positive effects on learning and memory capacities of a DS mouse model and is foreseen to treat DS patients. But PTZ is also known to be a convulsant drug at higher dose and DS persons are more prone to epileptic seizures than the general population. This raises concerns over what long-term effects of treatment might be in the DS population. The cause of increased propensity for epilepsy in the DS population and which Hsa21 gene(s) are implicated remain unknown. Among Hsa21 candidate genes in epilepsy, CSTB, coding for the cystein protease inhibitor cystatin B, is involved in progressive myoclonus epilepsy and ataxia in both mice and human. Thus we aim to evaluate the effect of an increase in Cstb gene dosage on spontaneous epileptic activity and susceptibility to PTZ-induced seizure. To this end we generated a new mouse model trisomic for Cstb by homologous recombination. We verified that increasing copy number of Cstb from Trisomy (Ts) to Tetrasomy (Tt) was driving overexpression of the gene in the brain, we checked transgenic animals for presence of locomotor activity and electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities characteristic of myoclonic epilepsy and we tested if those animals were prone to PTZ-induced seizure. Overall, the results of the analysis shows that an increase in Cstb does not induce any spontaneous epileptic activity and neither increase or decrease the propensity of Ts and Tt mice to myoclonic seizures suggesting that Ctsb dosage should not interfere with PTZ-treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cystatin B / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / pathology*
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Gene Duplication / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pentylenetetrazole
  • Seizures / complications*
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Tetrasomy / genetics
  • Tetrasomy / physiopathology


  • Cstb protein, mouse
  • Cystatin B
  • Pentylenetetrazole