Genetic inactivation of mGlu5 receptor improves motor coordination in the Grm1crv4 mouse model of SCAR13 ataxia

Simone Bossi, Ilaria Musante, Tommaso Bonfiglio, Tiziana Bonifacino, Laura Emionite, Maria Cerminara, Chiara Cervetto, Manuela Marcoli, Giambattista Bonanno, Roberto Ravazzolo, Anna Pittaluga, Aldamaria Puliti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deleterious mutations in the glutamate receptor metabotropic 1 gene (GRM1) cause a recessive form of cerebellar ataxia, SCAR13. GRM1 and GRM5 code for the metabotropic glutamate type 1 (mGlu1) and type 5 (mGlu5) receptors, respectively. Their different expression profiles suggest they could have distinct functional roles. In a previous study, homozygous mice lacking mGlu1 receptors (Grm1crv4/crv4) and exhibiting ataxia presented cerebellar overexpression of mGlu5 receptors, that was proposed to contribute to the mouse phenotype. To test this hypothesis, we here crossed Grm1crv4 and Grm5ko mice to generate double mutants (Grm1crv4/crv4Grm5ko/ko) lacking both mGlu1 and mGlu5 receptors. Double mutants and control mice were analyzed for spontaneous behavior and for motor activity by rotarod and footprint analyses. In the same mice, the release of glutamate from cerebellar nerve endings (synaptosomes) elicited by 12mM KCl or by α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) was also evaluated. Motor coordination resulted improved in double mutants when compared to Grm1crv4/crv4 mice. Furthermore, in in vitro studies, glutamate release elicited by both KCl depolarization and activation of AMPA autoreceptors resulted reduced in Grm1crv4/crv4 mice compared to wild type mice, while it presented normal levels in double mutants. Moreover, we found that Grm1crv4/crv4 mice showed reduced expression of GluA2/3 AMPA receptor subunits in cerebellar synaptosomes, while it resulted restored to wild type level in double mutants. To conclude, blocking of mGlu5 receptor reduced the dysregulation of glutamate transmission and improved motor coordination in the Grm1crv4 mouse model of SCAR13, thus suggesting the possible usefulness of pharmacological therapies based on modulation of mGlu5 receptor activity for the treatment of this type of ataxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue numberPt A
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Animals
  • Autoreceptors/metabolism
  • Cerebellar Ataxia/genetics
  • Cerebellum/metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid/metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5/genetics
  • Receptors, AMPA/metabolism
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate/genetics
  • Rotarod Performance Test


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