Genetics of primary and timing effects in the mnd mouse

Am J Med Genet. 1995 Jun 5;57(2):361-4. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320570251.


The mnd mouse shows a spontaneous adult-onset hereditary neurological disease, with motor abnormality by 6 months of age, progressing to severe spastic paralysis and premature death. The disease is autosomal recessive, with heterozygote effects seen under stress. It maps to mouse chromosome (chr) 8. Histopathology with Nissl stains documents substantial abnormalities of upper and lower motor neurons, and there is retinal degeneration beginning in the first month, even without light exposure. Increasing levels of autofluorescent lipopigment are found in both neuronal and non-neuronal tissues as the mnd mice age. Recently, NCL-like inclusions and accumulating subunit c have also been described. When mnd is outcrossed to the AKR/J genetic background, ca. 40% of the mnd/mnd F2 progeny show early onset (onset by 4.5-5 months and death by 7 months.) This accelerated timing effect seems to be strain-specific, and unlinked to the mnd gene itself. Our current working hypothesis is that the timing effect is due to 2 or 3 unlinked dominant genes with incomplete penetrance at any single locus. In a combined RFLP/PCR fragment genetic analysis, the strongest deviation from the expected ratio of AKR vs B6 alleles occurs with markers on proximal half of chr 1. Additional loci on chrs 5 and 10 may also be involved. The mechanism of interaction of these modifying genes with the primary mnd gene may offer new therapeutic avenues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Heterozygote
  • Light
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred AKR
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Motor Neuron Disease / genetics
  • Motor Neuron Disease / pathology
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / genetics*
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / pathology
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology