Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Critical adolescent neural refinement is controlled by the DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer) protein, a receptor for the netrin-1 guidance cue. We sought to describe the effects of reduced DCC on neuroanatomy in the adolescent and adult mouse brain. METHODS: We examined neuronal connectivity, structural covariance, and molecular processes in a DCC-haploinsufficient mouse model, compared with wild-type mice, using new, custom analytical tools designed to leverage publicly available databases from the Allen Institute. RESULTS: We included 11 DCC-haploinsufficient mice and 16 wild-type littermates. Neuroanatomical effects of DCC haploinsufficiency were more severe in adolescence than adulthood and were largely restricted to the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. The latter finding was consistent whether we identified the regions of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system a priori or used connectivity data from the Allen Brain Atlas to determine de novo where these dopamine axons terminated. Covariance analyses found that DCC haploinsufficiency disrupted the coordinated development of the brain regions that make up the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. Gene expression maps pointed to molecular processes involving the expression of DCC, UNC5C (encoding DCC's co-receptor), and NTN1 (encoding its ligand, netrin-1) as underlying our structural findings. LIMITATIONS: Our study involved a single sex (males) at only 2 ages. CONCLUSION: The neuroanatomical phenotype of DCC haploinsufficiency described in mice parallels that observed in DCC-haploinsufficient humans. It is critical to understand the DCC-haploinsufficient mouse as a clinically relevant model system.

Original publication




Journal article


J Psychiatry Neurosci

Publication Date





E157 - E171


Animals, DCC Receptor, Haploinsufficiency, Brain, Dopamine, Mice, Male, Gene Expression, Neural Pathways, Age Factors, Female, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Aging