Gait Analysis in NF1 Mouse Model Revealed Developmental Abnormalities that Persist into Adulthood

As part of an investigation into share motor impairments across genetic liabilities for intellectual and developmental disorders (IDDs), a research group led by Drs. Susan Maloney and Joseph Dougherty, in collaboration with the Gutmann Lab, recently discovered altered gait development in mice harboring a patient-derived Nf1 gene mutation. This new study conducted a comprehensive analysis of gait across a critical developmental window in which gait matures in the mouse model.  Nf1 mutant mice exhibited altered spatial, temporal, and postural subcomponents of gait compared to their control littermates, which persisted into adulthood. In addition, the pattern of disruption to gait development in the Nf1 model was also observed in a mouse model of Williams Syndrome, another IDD that features motor deficits. Overall, our findings indicate that IDDs may share features of atypical gait yet differ in resolution or persistence of these phenotypes. Therefore, gait may serve as a helpful outcome variable in studies of therapeutics’ efficacy in the long-term treatment of IDD.

Rahn RM, Weichselbaum CT, Gutmann DH, Dougherty JD, Maloney SE. Shared developmental gait disruptions across two mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders. J Neurodev Disord. 2021 Mar 20;13(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s11689-021-09359-0. PMID: 33743598