Chrna7 deficient mice manifest no consistent neuropsychiatric and behavioral phenotypes

Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 3;7:39941. doi: 10.1038/srep39941.


The alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, encoded by the CHRNA7 gene, has been implicated in various psychiatric and behavioral disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, and is considered a potential target for therapeutic intervention. 15q13.3 microdeletion syndrome is a rare genetic disorder, caused by submicroscopic deletions on chromosome 15q. CHRNA7 is the only gene in this locus that has been deleted entirely in cases involving the smallest microdeletions. Affected individuals manifest variable neurological and behavioral phenotypes, which commonly include developmental delay/intellectual disability, epilepsy, and autism spectrum disorder. Subsets of patients have short attention spans, aggressive behaviors, mood disorders, or schizophrenia. Previous behavioral studies suggested that Chrna7 deficient mice had attention deficits, but were normal in baseline behavioral responses, learning, memory, and sensorimotor gating. Given a growing interest in CHRNA7-related diseases and a better appreciation of its associated human phenotypes, an in-depth behavioral characterization of the Chrna7 deficient mouse model appeared prudent. This study was designed to investigate whether Chrna7 deficient mice manifest phenotypes related to those seen in human individuals, using an array of 12 behavioral assessments and electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings on freely-moving mice. Examined phenotypes included social interaction, compulsive behaviors, aggression, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and somatosensory gating. Our data suggests that mouse behavior and EEG recordings are not sensitive to decreased Chrna7 copy number.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phenotype
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor / deficiency
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor / genetics*


  • Chrna7 protein, mouse
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor