Forebrain-Specific Loss of BMPRII in Mice Reduces Anxiety and Increases Object Exploration

PLoS One. 2015 Oct 7;10(10):e0139860. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139860. eCollection 2015.


To investigate the role of Bone Morphogenic Protein Receptor Type II (BMPRII) in learning, memory, and exploratory behavior in mice, a tissue-specific knockout of BMPRII in the post-natal hippocampus and forebrain was generated. We found that BMPRII mutant mice had normal spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze, but showed significantly reduced swimming speeds with increased floating behavior. Further analysis using the Porsolt Swim Test to investigate behavioral despair did not reveal any differences in immobility between mutants and controls. In the Elevated Plus Maze, BMPRII mutants and Smad4 mutants showed reduced anxiety, while in exploratory tests, BMPRII mutants showed more interest in object exploration. These results suggest that loss of BMPRII in the mouse hippocampus and forebrain does not disrupt spatial learning and memory encoding, but instead impacts exploratory and anxiety-related behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II / analysis
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / chemistry
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Prosencephalon / chemistry
  • Prosencephalon / physiology*
  • Smad4 Protein / physiology


  • Smad4 Protein
  • Smad4 protein, mouse
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type II