Maternal infanticide and low maternal ability in cerebellar mutants Lurcher.

OBJECTIVE: One of the common, but less studied deficiencies in mouse models of cerebellar disorders is impaired breeding capacity. Nevertheless, there is no extensive study in Lurcher (Grid2Lc) mice, a model of olivocerebellar degeneration. The aim of this work was to analyze a breeding capacity of these mutants.

METHODS: Lurcher females mated with healthy wild type males were compared with two control groups: wild type females mated with wild type males and wild type females mated with Lurcher males. The breeding capacity of Lurcher mice was analyzed using a fertility rate, mating capability and pups survival rate through three consecutive litters.

RESULTS: Lurcher dams did not show significantly reduced fertility and mating capability. Nevertheless, their breeding capacity was affected by reduced litter size, maternal infanticide and higher pup mortality during the maternal care period.

CONCLUSION: Lurcher mice are fertile and mating capable cerebellar mutants, but their breeding capacity is reduced due to the postpartum behavioral abnormalities. With regard to hyper-reactivity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis followed by behavioral disinhibition during stressful events in Lurcher mutants, we hypothesize that the lower breeding capacity is associated with these endocrine and behavioral abnormalities.

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