A protocol for evaluation of Rett Syndrome symptom improvement by metabolic modulators in Mecp2-mutant mice

Mouse models recapitulate many symptoms of Rett Syndrome, an X-linked disorder caused by mutations in methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2). The study of Mecp2-null male mice has provided insight into pathogenesis of the disorder; most recently, dysregulation of cholesterol and lipid metabolism. Perisymptomatic treatment with statin drugs successfully mitigates the effects of this metabolic syndrome, increases longevity and improves motor function. Described here is a metabolic drug screening protocol and timeline for symptom evaluation in Mecp2-mutant mice. Specifically, mice are treated twice weekly with a compound of interest alongside subjective health assessments, bi-weekly body composition measurements and blood chemistries. Throughout treatment, behavioral phenotyping tests are carried out at specific time points. This protocol is highly adaptable to other neurological diseases; however, the time for completion depends on the specific mutant model under study. The protocol highlights the use of several different CPMo protocols to carry out testing in a preclinical model.

Keywords: Behavioral Assessment; Cholesterol; Drug Treatment; Lipid; Metabolism; Neurodevelopmental Disorders; Rett Syndrome.