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Behav Genet. 2012 Mar;42(2):299-312. doi: 10.1007/s10519-011-9501-2. Epub 2011 Sep 11.

Mecp2 truncation in male mice promotes affiliative social behavior.

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Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1993 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.


Mouse models of Rett syndrome, with targeted mutations in the Mecp2 gene, show a high degree of phenotypic consistency with the clinical syndrome. In addition to severe and age-specific regression in motor and cognitive abilities, a variety of studies have demonstrated that Mecp2 mutant mice display impaired social behavior. Conversely, other studies indicate complex enhancements of social behavior in Mecp2 mutant mice. Since social behavior is a complicated accumulation of constructs, we performed a series of classic and refined social behavior tasks and revealed a relatively consistent pattern of enhanced pro-social behavior in hypomorphic Mecp2 (308/Y) mutant mice. Analyses of repetitive motor acts, and cognitive stereotypy did not reveal any profound differences due to genotype. Taken together, these results suggest that the mutations associated with Rett syndrome are not necessarily associated with autism-relevant social impairment in mice. However, this gene may be a valuable candidate for revealing basic mechanisms of affiliative behavior.

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