Deletion of selenoprotein P results in impaired function of parvalbumin interneurons and alterations in fear learning and sensorimotor gating.

PMID 22640876


One of the primary lines of defense against oxidative stress is the selenoprotein family, a class of proteins that contain selenium in the form of the 21st amino acid, selenocysteine. Within this class of proteins, selenoprotein P (Sepp1) is unique, as it contains multiple selenocysteine residues and is postulated to act in selenium transport. Recent findings have demonstrated that neuronal selenoprotein synthesis is required for the development of parvalbumin (PV)-interneurons, a class of GABAergic neurons involved in the synchronization of neural activity. To investigate the potential influence of Sepp1 on PV-interneurons, we first mapped the distribution of the Sepp1 receptor, ApoER2, and parvalbumin in the mouse brain. Our results indicate that ApoER2 is highly expressed on PV-interneurons in multiple brain regions. Next, to determine whether PV-interneuron populations are affected by Sepp1 deletion, we performed stereology on several brain regions in which we observed ApoER2 expression on PV-interneurons, comparing wild-type and Sepp1(-/-) mice. We observed reduced numbers of PV-interneurons in the inferior colliculus of Sepp1(-/-) mice, which corresponded with a regional increase in oxidative stress. Finally, as impaired PV-interneuron function has been implicated in several neuropsychiatric conditions, we performed multiple behavioral tests on Sepp1(-/-) mice. Our behavioral results indicate that Sepp1(-/-) mice have impairments in contextual fear extinction, latent inhibition, and sensorimotor gating. In sum, these findings demonstrate the important supporting role of Sepp1 on ApoER2-expressing PV-interneurons.