Behavioural alterations in male mice lacking the gene for d-aspartate oxidase

Zachary M. Weil, Alex S. Huang, Anne Beigneux, Paul M. Kim, Mark E. Molliver, Seth Blackshaw, Stephen G. Young, Randy J. Nelson, Solomon H. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


d-serine and d-aspartate are important regulators of mammalian physiology. d-aspartate is found in nervous and endocrine tissue, specifically in hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei, pituitary, and adrenal medullary cells. Endogenous d-aspartate is selectively degraded by d-aspartate oxidase. We previously reported that adult male mice lacking the gene for d-aspartate oxidase (Ddo-/- mice) display elevated concentrations of d-aspartate in several neuronal and neuroendocrine tissues as well as impaired sexual performance and altered autogrooming behaviour. In the present study, we analyzed behaviours relevant to affect, cognition, and motor control in Ddo-/- mice. Ddo-/- mice display deficits in sensorimotor gating and motor coordination as well as reduced immobility in the forced swim test. Basal corticosterone concentrations are elevated. The Ddo-/- mice have d-aspartate immunoreactive cells in the cerebellum and adrenal glands that are not observed in the wild-type mice. However, no differences in anxiety-like behaviour are detected in open field or light-dark preference tests. Also, Ddo-/- mice do not differ from wild-type mice in either passive avoidance or spontaneous alternation tasks. Although many of these behavioural deficits may be due to the lack of Ddo during development, our results are consistent with the widespread distribution of d-aspartate and the hypothesis that endogenous d-aspartate serves diverse behavioural functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 10 2006


  • Behavioural phenotyping
  • Knockout mice
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • RotoRod
  • d-amino acids
  • d-aspartate
  • d-aspartate oxidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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