Faculty Research 1990 - 1999

Effects of embryo transfer and cortical ectopias upon the behavior of BXSB-Yaa and BXSB-Yaa + mice.

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Autoimmunity: ph, Avoidance-Learning: ph, Behavior-Animal: ph, Cerebral-Cortex: ab, Discrimination-Learning: ph, Embryo-Transfer, Female, Laterality: ph, Male, Maze-Learning: ph, Mice, Mice-Inbred-DBA, Mice-Mutant-Strains, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Uterus: im, Y-Chromosome

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Brain Res Dev Brain Res 1996 May 31;93(1-2):100-8


HD20806/HD/NICHD, RR01262/RR/NCRR, CA34196/CA/NCI


The BXSB-Yaa and BXSB-Yaa + inbred strains of mice differ primarily with respect to the Y chromosome, although there is evidence that they differ on several autosomal genes as well. Each strain has ectopic collections of neurons in neocortical layer I (ectopias), with a higher occurrence in males (58%) than females (42%). Conventionally reared mice from these strains were compared to mice that were transferred, as 8-cell embryos, into the uteri of non-autoimmune recipients, who gave birth to and reared the offspring. The transfer procedure did not change the incidence of ectopias in either sex. There were, however, major differences in behavior. Compared to conventionally reared controls, embryo transfer mice had greater behavioral asymmetry, poorer performance in a black-white discrimination, poorer Morris maze learning, better Lashley maze learning, and better performance in a two-way shuttlebox. Within the transfer groups, females differed as much as males, confirming our prior findings and supporting our thesis that the two strains differ on several autosomal genes in addition to the Y chromosome. These findings show that the intra-uterine environment can powerfully and selectively affect later behavior. When ectopic and non-ectopic mice were compared, BXSB-Yaa mice with neocortical ectopias were better able to learn the Morris spatial maze than non-ectopic controls; this was true whether the mice were conventionally reared or embryo transferred. In contrast, BXSB-Yaa + ectopic mice did not differ from their controls if conventionally reared, but were much worse than controls if embryo transferred.