Behavioural and EEG effects of chronic rapamycin treatment in a mouse model of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

Marco Cambiaghi, Marco Cursi, Laura Magri, Valerio Castoldi, Giancarlo Comi, Fabio Minicucci, Rossella Galli, Letizia Leocani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a multisystem genetic disorder caused by mutation in either Tsc1 or Tsc2 genes that leads to the hyper activation of the mTOR pathway, a key signalling pathway for synaptic plasticity. TSC is characterized by benign tumors arising in different organs and severe neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, autism, anxiety and depressive behaviour. Rapamycin is a potent inhibitor of mTOR and its efficacy in treating epilepsy and neurological symptoms remains elusive. In a mouse model in which Tsc1 has been deleted in embryonic telencephalic neural stem cells, we analyzed anxiety- and depression-like behaviour by elevated-plus maze (EPM), open-field test (OFT), forced-swim test (FST) and tail-suspension test (TST), after chronic administration of rapamycin. In addition, spectral analysis of background EEG was performed. Rapamycin-treated mutant mice displayed a reduction in anxiety- and depression-like phenotype, as shown by the EPM/OFT and FST, respectively. These results were inline with EEG power spectra outcomes. The same effects of rapamycin were observed in wild-type mice. Notably, in heterozygous animals we did not observe any EEG and/or behavioural variation after rapamycin treatment. Together these results suggest that both TSC1 deletion and chronic rapamycin treatment might have a role in modulating behaviour and brain activity, and point out to the potential usefulness of background EEG analysis in tracking brain dysfunction in parallel with behavioural testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Behaviour
  • EEG
  • Rapamycin
  • Spectral analysis
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

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