Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.340, No.3, 776-783, 2006
Brain magnetic resonance study of Mecp2 deletion effects on anatomy and metabolism
Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental X-linked disorder, represents the most important genetic cause of severe mental retardation in the female Population and results from a mutation in the gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2). We report here the first characterization of Mecp2-null mice, by in vivo magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, delineating the cerebral phenotype associated with the lack of Mecp2. We performed a morphometric study that revealed a size reduction of the whole brain and of structures involved in cognitive and motor functions (cerebellum and motor cortex). Significant metabolic anomalies, including reduced N-acetylaspartate, myo-inositol, and glutamine plus glutamate, and increased choline levels were evidenced. These findings indicate that not only neuronal but also glial metabolism is affected in Mecp2-null mice. Furthermore, We uncovered an important reduction of brain ATP level, a hitherto undetected anomaly of energy metabolism that may reflect and contribute to cerebral injury and dysfunction. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.