Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 53, Issue 9, pp 5818–5832 | Cite as

Selenoprotein T Deficiency Leads to Neurodevelopmental Abnormalities and Hyperactive Behavior in Mice

  • Matthieu T. Castex
  • Arnaud Arabo
  • Magalie Bénard
  • Vincent Roy
  • Vadim Le Joncour
  • Gaëtan Prévost
  • Jean-Jacques Bonnet
  • Youssef AnouarEmail author
  • Anthony Falluel-Morel


Selenoprotein T (SelT) is a newly discovered thioredoxin-like protein, which is abundantly but transiently expressed in the neural lineage during brain ontogenesis. Because its physiological function in the brain remains unknown, we developed a conditional knockout mouse line (Nes-Cre/SelTfl/fl) in which SelT gene is specifically disrupted in nerve cells. At postnatal day 7 (P7), these mice exhibited reduced volume of different brain structures, including hippocampus, cerebellum, and cerebral cortex. This phenotype, which is observed early during the first postnatal week, culminated at P7 and was associated with increased loss of immature neurons but not glial cells, through apoptotic cell death. This phenomenon was accompanied by elevated levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species, which may explain the increased neuron demise and reduced brain structure volumes. At the second postnatal week, an increase in neurogenesis was observed in the cerebellum of Nes-Cre/SelTfl/fl mice, suggesting the occurrence of developmental compensatory mechanisms in the brain. In fact, the brain volume alterations observed at P7 were attenuated in adult mice. Nevertheless, SelT mutant mice exhibited a hyperactive behavior, suggesting that despite an apparent morphological compensation, SelT deficiency leads to cerebral malfunction in adulthood. Altogether, these results demonstrate that SelT exerts a neuroprotective role which is essential during brain development, and that its loss impairs mice behavior.


Antioxidant Neuroprotection Brain ontogenesis Knockout mice Behavioral deficit 



This work was supported by the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm, grant number U982); the University of Rouen; the Regional Council of Haute-Normandie; the European Community Interreg IV Program (grants PeReNE and TC2N); and the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research (Scholarship to M.T.C.). We thank Dorthe Cartier and Pr Pierrick Gandolfo of Inserm U982 for technical assistance and helpful comments. Part of the behavioral tests was done on the Service Commun d’Analyse Comportementale (SCAC). Images were acquired in PRIMACEN (, the Cell Imaging Facility of Normandy.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthieu T. Castex
    • 1
  • Arnaud Arabo
    • 2
  • Magalie Bénard
    • 3
  • Vincent Roy
    • 4
  • Vadim Le Joncour
    • 1
  • Gaëtan Prévost
    • 1
  • Jean-Jacques Bonnet
    • 1
  • Youssef Anouar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anthony Falluel-Morel
    • 1
  1. 1.Inserm, U982, Laboratory of Neuronal and Neuroendocrine Differentiation and Communication, Institute for Research and Innovation in BiomedicineUniversity of Rouen, Normandy UniversityMont-Saint-AignanFrance
  2. 2.Sciences FacultyUniversity of RouenMont-Saint-AignanFrance
  3. 3.PRIMACEN, Institute for Research and Innovation in BiomedicineUniversity of RouenMont-Saint-AignanFrance
  4. 4.PSY-NCA, EA4700University of RouenMont-Saint-AignanFrance

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