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Autism is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown aetiology that affects 1 in 100-150 individuals. Diagnosis is based on three categories of behavioural criteria: abnormal social interactions, communication deficits and repetitive behaviours. Strong evidence for a genetic basis has prompted the development of mouse models with targeted(More)
BACKGROUND SHANK3 is a protein in the core of the postsynaptic density (PSD) and has a critical role in recruiting many key functional elements to the PSD and to the synapse, including components of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA), metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) glutamate receptors, as well as(More)
Mutations in the synaptic scaffolding protein gene SHANK3 are strongly implicated in autism and Phelan-McDermid 22q13 deletion syndrome. The precise location of the mutation within the Shank3 gene is key to its phenotypic outcomes. Here, we report the physiological and behavioral consequences of null and heterozygous mutations in the ankyrin repeat domain(More)
This unit presents two basic protocols that offer rapid assessments of anosmia (the absence of a sense of smell) in mice. The buried food test is used to check for the ability to smell volatile odors. The olfactory habituation/dishabituation test is used to test whether the animal can detect and differentiate different odors, including both nonsocial and(More)
Inbred mouse strains differ greatly in social behaviors, making them a valuable resource to study genetic and non-genetic mechanisms underlying social deficits relevant to autism spectrum disorders. A hallmark symptom of autism is a lack of ability to understand other people's thoughts and intentions, which leads to impairments in adjusting behaviors in(More)
Trimethylthiazoline (TMT), a derivative of fox feces, has been reported to fail to produce aversive conditioning as an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) when presented in large amounts (I. S. McGregor, L. Schrama, P. Ambermoon, & R. A. Dielenberg, 2002). Experiment I evaluated very low TMT levels that nonetheless produced defensive behaviors in rats during(More)
Autism is diagnosed by three major symptom categories: unusual reciprocal social interactions, impaired communication, and repetitive behaviors with restricted interests. Direct social approach in mice has strong face validity to simple social approach behaviors in humans, which are frequently impaired in autism. This unit presents a basic protocol for a(More)
The BTBR T+tf/J (BTBR) strain is an inbred strain of mice that displays prominent social deficits and repetitive behaviors analogous to the defining symptoms of autism, along with complete congenital agenesis of the corpus callosum (CC). The BTBR strain is genetically distant from the widely used C57BL/6J (B6) strain, which exhibits high levels of(More)
Inbred strains of mice are useful model systems for studying the interactions of genetic and environmental contributions during neurodevelopmental stages. We recently reported an inbred strain, BTBR T+tf/J (BTBR), which, as compared to the commonly used C57BL/6J (B6) strain, displays lower social interactions as juveniles, lower social approach in adult(More)
Lesions of the dorsal premammillary nucleus (PMd) have been reported to produce dramatic reductions in responsivity of rats to a live cat. Such lesions provide a means of analyzing the potentially differential neural systems involved in different defensive behaviors, and the relationship between these systems and concepts such as anxiety. Rats with(More)