In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the brain of Cdkl5 null mice reveals a metabolic profile indicative of mitochondrial dysfunctions

Published: 9 February 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/5rrnzv662n.1
, Linda Chaabane, Clarissa Butti, Clara De Palma, Angelisa Frasca, Landsberger Nicoletta


Mutations in the X-linked CDKL5 gene cause CDKL5 deficiency disorder (CDD), a severe neurodevelopmental condition mainly characterized by infantile epileptic encephalopathy, intellectual disability, and autistic features. The molecular mechanisms underlying the clinical symptoms remain largely unknown and the identification of reliable biomarkers in animal models will certainly contribute to increase our comprehension of CDD as well as to assess the efficacy of therapeutic strategies. Here, we used different Magnetic Resonance (MR) methods to disclose structural, functional, or metabolic signatures of Cdkl5 deficiency in the brain of adult mice. We found that loss of Cdkl5 does not cause cerebral atrophy but affects distinct brain areas, particularly the hippocampus. By in vivo proton-MR spectroscopy (MRS), we revealed in the Cdkl5 null brain a metabolic dysregulation indicative of mitochondrial dysfunctions. Accordingly, we unveiled a significant reduction in ATP levels and a decrease in the expression of complex IV of mitochondrial electron transport chain. Conversely, the number of mitochondria appeared preserved. Importantly, we reported a significant defect in the activation of one of the major regulators of cellular energy balance, the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), that might contribute to the observed metabolic impairment and become an interesting therapeutic target for future preclinical trials. In conclusion, MRS revealed in the Cdkl5 null brain the presence of a metabolic dysregulation suggestive of a mitochondrial dysfunction that permitted to foster our comprehension of Cdkl5 deficiency and brought our interest towards targeting mitochondria as therapeutic strategy for CDD. DOI: 10.1111/jnc.15300



Ospedale San Raffaele


Neuroscience, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Mitochondrion