Increased behavioral responses to ethanol in Lmo3 knockout mice.Genes Brain Behav 2014; 13(8):777-83GB
LIM-domain-only 3 (LMO3) is a transcriptional regulator involved in central nervous system development and neuroblastoma. Our previous studies implicated a potential role for LMO3 in regulating ethanol sensitivity and consumption. Here, we examined behavioral responses to ethanol in a line of Lmo3 null (Lmo3(Z)) mice, utilizing the ethanol-induced loss-of-righting-reflex (LORR) test, two-bottle choice ethanol consumption and the drinking in the dark (DID) test, which models binge-like ethanol consumption. We found that Lmo3(Z) mice exhibited increased sedation time in response to ethanol in the LORR test and drank significantly more ethanol in the DID test compared with their wild-type counterparts, but showed no differences in two-bottle choice ethanol consumption. To explore where LMO3 may be acting in the brain to produce an ethanol phenotype, we also examined reporter gene (β-galactosidase) expression in heterozygous Lmo3(Z) mice and found strong expression in subcortical areas, particularly in those areas implicated in drug abuse, including the nucleus accumbens (Acb), cortex, hippocampus and amygdala. We also examined Lmo3 expression in the brains of wild-type mice who had undergone the DID test and found a negative correlation between Lmo3 expression in the Acb and the amount of ethanol consumed, consistent with the increased binge-like drinking observed in Lmo3(Z) mice. These results support a role for LMO3 in regulating behavioral responses to ethanol, potentially through its actions in the Acb.