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Behavioural phenotypes and neural circuit dysfunctions in mouse models of autism spectrum disorder

Chapter in book
Authors A. T. Ferhat
S. Halbedl
M. J. Schmeisser
M. J. Kas
Thomas Bourgeron
E. Ey
Published in Translational Anatomy and Cell Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorder
ISSN 0301-5556
Publication year 2017
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-52498-6_5
Subject categories Neurology

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition primarily characterised by alterations in social interaction and communication combined with the presence of restricted interests and stereotyped behaviours. Mutations in several genes have been associated with ASD resulting in the generation of corresponding mouse models. Here, we focus on the behavioural (social and stereotyped behaviours), functional and structural traits of mice with mutations in genes encoding defined synaptic proteins including adhesion proteins, scaffolding proteins and subunits of channels and receptors. A meta-analysis on ASD mouse models shows that they can be divided into two subgroups. Cluster I gathered models highly impaired in social interest, stereotyped behaviours, synaptic physiology and protein composition, while Cluster II regrouped much less impaired models, with typical social interactions. This distribution was not related to gene families. Even within the large panel of mouse models carrying mutations in Shank3, the number of mutated isoforms was not related to the severity of the phenotype. Our study points that the majority of structural or functional analyses were performed in the hippocampus. However, to robustly link the structural and functional impairments with the behavioural deficits observed, brain structures forming relevant nodes in networks involved in social and stereotyped behaviours should be targeted in the future. In addition, the characterisation of core ASD-like behaviours needs to be more detailed using new approaches quantifying the variations in social motivation, recognition and stereotyped behaviours. © 2017, Springer International Publishing AG.

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