Loss and Gain of MeCP2 Cause Similar Hippocampal Circuit Dysfunction that Is Rescued by Deep Brain Stimulation in a Rett Syndrome Mouse Model

Neuron. 2016 Aug 17;91(4):739-747. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.07.018. Epub 2016 Aug 4.


Loss- and gain-of-function mutations in methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) underlie two distinct neurological syndromes with strikingly similar features, but the synaptic and circuit-level changes mediating these shared features are undefined. Here we report three novel signs of neural circuit dysfunction in three mouse models of MECP2 disorders (constitutive Mecp2 null, mosaic Mecp2(+/-), and MECP2 duplication): abnormally elevated synchrony in the firing activity of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons, an impaired homeostatic response to perturbations of excitatory-inhibitory balance, and decreased excitatory synaptic response in inhibitory neurons. Conditional mutagenesis studies revealed that MeCP2 dysfunction in excitatory neurons mediated elevated synchrony at baseline, while MeCP2 dysfunction in inhibitory neurons increased susceptibility to hypersynchronization in response to perturbations. Chronic forniceal deep brain stimulation (DBS), recently shown to rescue hippocampus-dependent learning and memory in Mecp2(+/-) (Rett) mice, also rescued all three features of hippocampal circuit dysfunction in these mice.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CA1 Region, Hippocampal / physiopathology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fornix, Brain / physiology*
  • Gene Duplication / genetics
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / genetics
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mosaicism
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics
  • Rett Syndrome / physiopathology*


  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2