Glutamatergic synapse protein composition of wild-type mice is sensitive to in utero MTHFR genotype and the timing of neonatal vigabatrin exposure

Chava Zuckerman, Elinor Blumkin, Osnat Melamed, Hava M. Golan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate-reductase (MTHFR) is part of the homocysteine and folate metabolic pathways. In utero, Mthfr-deficient environment has been reported as a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and neural tube defects. Neonatal disruption of the GABAergic system is also associated with behavioral outcomes. The interaction between Mthfr deficiency and neonatal exposure to the GABA-potentiating drug vigabatrin (GVG) in mice alters anxiety, memory, and social behavior in a gender-dependent manner. In addition, a gender-dependent enhancement of proteins implicated in excitatory synapse plasticity in the cerebral cortex was shown. Here we show that in utero MTHFR deficiency is sufficient to alter the levels of glutamate receptor subunits GluR1, GluR2, and NR2B in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of adult offspring with a WT genotype. In addition, FMRP1, CAMKII α and γ, and NLG1 levels in WT offspring were vulnerable to the in utero genotype. These effects depend on brain region and the cellular compartment tested. The effect of in utero MTHFR deficiency varies with the age of neonatal GVG exposure to modify GluR1, NR2A, reelin, CAMKII α, and NLG1 levels. These changes in molecular composition of the glutamatergic synapse were associated with increased anxiety-like behavior.Complex, multifactorial disorders of the nervous system show significant association with several genetic and environmental factors. Our data exemplify the contribution of an in utero MTHFR-deficient environment and early exposure to an antiepileptic drug to the basal composition of the glutamatergic synapses. The robust effect is expected to alter synapse function and plasticity and the cortico-hippocampal circuitry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1802
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • AMPA R
  • Anxiety
  • GABA
  • NMDA R

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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