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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)
Autism is a behaviorally defined neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown etiology. Mouse models with face validity to the core symptoms offer an experimental approach to test hypotheses about the causes of autism and translational tools to evaluate potential treatments. We discovered that the inbred mouse strain BTBR T+tf/J (BTBR) incorporates multiple(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)
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)
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)
Exposure of rats to a cat odor block in a previously familiarized situation was followed by three extinction days to the same or a different situation, and with or without an identical but odor-free block, and, testing in the original apparatus with an odor-free block (cue). Initial exposure produced risk assessment (stretch attend), avoidance of the block,(More)
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by abnormal reciprocal social interactions, communication deficits, and repetitive behaviors with restricted interests. BTBR T+tf/J (BTBR) is an inbred mouse strain that displays robust behavioral phenotypes with analogies to all three of the diagnostic symptoms of autism, including low social(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)
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)