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Cerebellum-dependent associative learning is not impaired in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1

Research group De Zeeuw
Publication year 2022
Published in Scientific Reports
Authors M J Ottenhoff, S Dijkhuizen, A C H Ypelaar, Nina L de Oude, Sebastiaan K E Koekkoek, Samuel S-H Wang, C.I. De Zeeuw, Y. Elgersma, H.J. Boele

Individuals with Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) experience a high degree of motor problems. The cerebellum plays a pivotal role in motor functioning and the NF1 gene is highly expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells. However, it is not well understood to what extent NF1 affects cerebellar functioning and how this relates to NF1 motor functioning. Therefore, we subjected global Nf1+/- mice to a cerebellum-dependent associative learning task, called Pavlovian eyeblink conditioning. Additionally, we assessed general motor function and muscle strength in Nf1+/- mice. To our surprise, we found that Nf1+/- mice showed a moderately increased learning rate of conditioned eyeblink responses, as well as improved accuracy in the adaptive timing of the eyeblink responses. Locomotion, balance, general motor function, and muscle strength were not affected in Nf1+/- mice. Together, our results support the view that cerebellar function in Nf1+/- mice is unimpaired.

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