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Behav Brain Res. 2013 Aug 15;251:18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.04.022. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Rats selectively bred for low levels of play-induced 50 kHz vocalizations as a model for autism spectrum disorders: a role for NMDA receptors.

Author information

  • 1Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60201, USA. j-burgdorf@northwestern.edu

Abstract

Early childhood autism is characterized by deficits in social approach and play behaviors, socio-emotional relatedness, and communication/speech abnormalities, as well as repetitive behaviors. These core neuropsychological features of autism can be modeled in laboratory rats, and the results may be useful for drug discovery and therapeutic development. We review data that show that rats selectively bred for low rates of play-related pro-social ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) can be used to model social deficit symptoms of autism. Low-line animals engage in less social contact time with conspecifics, show lower rates of play induced pro-social USVs, and show an increased proportion of non-frequency modulated (i.e. monotonous) ultrasonic vocalizations compared to non-selectively bred random-line animals. Gene expression patterns in the low-line animals show significant enrichment in autism-associated genes, and the NMDA receptor family was identified as a significant hub. Treatment of low-line animals with the NMDAR functional glycine site partial agonist, GLYX-13, rescued the deficits in play-induced pro-social 50-kHz USVs and reduced monotonous USVs. Since the NMDA receptor has been implicated in the genesis of autistic symptoms, it is possible that GLYX-13 may be of therapeutic value in the treatment of autism.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; GLYX-13; NMDA Receptor; Rat; Selective breeding; Ultrasonic vocalization

PMID:
23623884
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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