Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Genes Brain Behav. 2017 June ; 16(5): 564–573


Copyright 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society.



Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a common inherited disorder that significantly impacts family and patient day-to-day living across the entire lifespan. The childhood and adolescent behavioral consequences of FXS are well-appreciated. However, there are significantly fewer studies (except those examining psychiatric comorbidities) assessing behavioral phenotypes seen in adults with FXS. Mice engineered with a genetic lesion of Fmr1 recapitulate important molecular and neuroanatomical characteristics of FXS, and provide a means to evaluate adult behavioral phenotypes associated with FXS. We give the first description of baseline behaviors including feeding, drinking, movement, and their circadian rhythms; all observed over 16 consecutive days following extensive environmental habituation in adult Fmr1-KO mutant mice. We find no genotypic changes in mouse food ingestion, feeding patterns, metabolism, or circadian patterns of movement, feeding, and drinking. After habituation, Fmr1-KO mice demonstrate significantly less daily movement during their active phase (the dark cycle). However, Fmr1-KO mice have more bouts of activity during the light cycle compared to wildtypes. In addition, Fmr1-KO mice demonstrate significantly less daily water ingestion during the circadian dark cycle, and this reduction in water intake is accompanied by a decrease in the amount of water ingested per lick. The observed water ingestion and circadian phenotypes noted in Fmr1-KO mice recapitulate known clinical aspects previously described in FXS. The finding of decreased movement in Fmr1-KO mice is novel, and suggests a dissociation between baseline and novelty-evoked activity for Fmr1-KO mice.