Background: Calcyon is a single transmembrane protein predominantly expressed in the brain. Very recently, calcyon has been implicated in clathrin mediated endocytosis, a critical component of synaptic plasticity. At the genetic level, preliminary evidence supports an association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD) and polymorphisms in the calcyon gene. As little is known about the potential role of calcyon in ADHD, animal models may provide important insights into this issue. Methods: We examined calcyon mRNA expression in the frontal-striatal circuitry of three- ,five-, and ten-week-old Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats ( SHR), the most commonly used animal model of ADHD, and Wistar-Kyoto ( WKY; the strain from which SHR were derived). As a complement, we performed a co-expression network analysis using a database of mRNA gene expression profiles of multiple brain regions in order to explore potential functional links of calcyon to other genes. Results: In all age groups, SHR expressed significantly more calcyon mRNA in the medial prefrontal and orbital frontal cortices than WKY rats. In contrast, in the motor cortex, dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens, calcyon mRNA expression was only significantly elevated in SHR in younger animals. In both strains, calcyon mRNA levels decreased significantly with age in all regions studied. In the co-expression network analysis, we found a cluster of genes ( many of them poorly studied so far) strongly connected to calcyon, which may help elucidate its role in the brain. The pair-wise relations of calcyon with other genes support its involvement in clathrin mediated endocytosis and, potentially, some other membrane/vesicular processes. Interestingly, no link was found between calcyon and the dopamine D1 receptor, which was previously shown to interact with the C-terminal of calcyon. Conclusion: The results indicate an alteration in calcyon expression within the frontal-striatal circuitry of SHR, especially in areas involved in cognitive processes. These findings extend our understanding of the molecular alterations in SHR, a heuristically useful model of ADHD.
2007. Vol. 3, no 33