Galanin GAL-RI receptor null mutant mice display increased anxiety-like behavior specific to the elevated plus-maze

Andrew Holmes, Jefferson W. Kinney, Craige C. Wrenn, Qian Li, Rebecca J. Yang, Li Ma, Janani Vishwanath, Maria C. Saavedra, Caitlin E. Innerfield, Arie S. Jacoby, John Shine, Tiina P. Iismaa, Jacqueline N. Crawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


The neuropeptide galanin coexists with norepinephrine and serotonin in neuralsystems mediating emotion. Previous findings suggested that galanin modulates anxiety-related behaviors in rodents. Three galanin receptor subtypes have been cloned; however, understanding their functions has been limited by the lack of galanin receptor subtype-selective ligands. To study the role of the galanin GAL-R1 receptor subtype in mediating anxiety-related behavior, we generated mice with a nullmutation in the Galr1 gene. GAL-R1 —/— are viable and show no abnormalities in health, neurologicalreflexes, motoric functions, or sensory abilities. On a battery of tests for anxiety-like behavior, GAL-R1 —/— showed increased anxiety-like behavior on the elevated plus-maze test. Anxiety-related behaviors on the light/dark exploration, emergence, and open field tests were normal in GAL-R1 —/—. This test-specific anxiety-like phenotype was confirmed in a second, independent cohort of GAL-R1 nullmutant mice and +/+ controls. Principalcomponents factor analysis of behavioralscores from 279 mice suggested that anxiety-like behavior on the elevated plus-maze was qualitatively distinct from behavior on other tests in the battery. In addition, exposure to the elevated plus-maze produced a significantly greater neuroendocrine response than exposure to the light/dark exploration test, as analyzed in normalC57BL/6J mice. These behavioralfindings in the first galanin receptor nullmutant mouse are consistent with the hypothesis that galanin exerts anxiolytic actions via the GAL-R1 receptor under conditions of relatively high stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1044
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • GAL-RI receptor
  • Galanin
  • Mouse
  • Norepinephrine
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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