The effect of mGlu8 deficiency in animal models of psychiatric diseases


M. Fendt, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, WSJ-386.3.28, Forum 1, Novartis Campus, 4056 Basel, Switzerland. E-mail:


The metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 8 (mGlu8) is presynaptically located and regulates the release of the transmitter. Dysfunctions of this mechanism are involved in the pathophysiology of different psychiatric disorders. mGlu8 deficient mice have been previously investigated in a range of studies, but the results are contradictory and there are still many open questions. Therefore, we tested mGlu8-deficient animals in different behavioral tasks that are commonly used in neuropsychiatric research. Our results show a robust contextual fear deficit in mGlu8-deficient mice. Furthermore, novel object recognition, chlordiazepoxide-facilitated extinction of operant conditioning and the acoustic startle response were attenuated by mGlu8 deficiency. We found no changes in sensory processing, locomotor activity, prepulse inhibition, phencyclidine-induced changes in locomotion or prepulse inhibition, operant conditioning, conditioned fear to a discrete cue or in animal models of innate fear and post-traumatic stress disorder. We conclude that mGlu8 might be a potential target for disorders with pathophysiological changes in brain areas where mGlu8 modulates glutamate and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) transmission. Our data especially point to anxiety disorders involving exaggerated contextual fear, such as generalized anxiety disorders, and to conditions with disturbed declarative memory.