To investigate the role of Bone Morphogenic Protein Receptor Type II (BMPRII) in learning, memory, and exploratory behavior in mice, a tissue-specific knockout of BMPRII in the post-natal hippocampus and forebrain was generated. We found that BMPRII mutant mice had normal spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze, but showed significantly reduced swimming speeds with increased floating behavior. Further analysis using the Porsolt Swim Test to investigate behavioral despair did not reveal any differences in immobility between mutants and controls. In the Elevated Plus Maze, BMPRII mutants and Smad4 mutants showed reduced anxiety, while in exploratory tests, BMPRII mutants showed more interest in object exploration. These results suggest that loss of BMPRII in the mouse hippocampus and forebrain does not disrupt spatial learning and memory encoding, but instead impacts exploratory and anxiety-related behaviors.
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© 2015 McBrayer et al.