Disruption of circadian rhythmicity and suprachiasmatic action potential frequency in a mouse model with constitutive activation of glycogen synthase kinase 3

Academic Article


  • Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) is a serine/threonine kinase that has been implicated in psychiatric diseases, neurodevelopment, and circadian regulation. Both GSK3 isoforms, α and β, exhibit a 24-h variation of inhibitory phosphorylation within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the primary circadian pacemaker. We examined the hypothesis that rhythmic GSK3 activity is critical for robust circadian rhythmicity using GSK3α21A/21A/β9A/9A knock-in mice with serine-alanine substitutions at the inhibitory phosphorylation sites, making both forms constitutively active. We monitored wheel-running locomotor activity of GSK3 knock-in mice and used loose-patch electrophysiology to examine the effect of chronic GSK3 activity on circadian behavior and SCN neuronal activity. Double transgenic GSK3α/β knock-in mice exhibit disrupted behavioral rhythmicity, including significantly decreased rhythmic amplitude, lengthened active period, and increased activity bouts per day. This behavioral disruption was dependent on chronic activation of both GSK3 isoforms and was not seen in single transgenic GSK3α or GSK3β knock-in mice. Underlying the behavioral changes, SCN neurons from double transgenic GSK3α/β knock-in mice exhibited significantly higher spike rates during the subjective night compared to those from wild-type controls, with no differences detected during the subjective day. These results suggest that constitutive activation of GSK3 results in the loss of the typical day/night variation of SCN neuronal activity. Together, these results implicate GSK3 activity as a critical regulator of circadian behavior and neurophysiological rhythms. Because GSK3 has been implicated in numerous pathologies, understanding how GSK3 modulates circadian rhythms and neurophysiological activity may lead to novel therapeutics for pathological disorders and circadian rhythm dysfunction. © 2012 IBRO.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuroscience  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Paul JR; Johnson RL; Jope RS; Gamble KL
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 9
  • Volume

  • 226