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Brain Res Bull. 2013 Jul;96:62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 May 15.

D-Cycloserine improves sociability in the BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mouse model of autism spectrum disorders with altered Ras/Raf/ERK1/2 signaling.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA.


The genetically inbred BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mouse is a proposed model of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Similar to several syndromic forms of ASDs, mTOR activity may be enhanced in this mouse strain as a result of increased Ras signaling. Recently, D-cycloserine, a partial glycineB site agonist that targets the NMDA receptor, was shown to improve the sociability of the Balb/c mouse strain, another proposed genetically inbred model of ASDs. NMDA receptor activation is an important regulator of mTOR signaling activity. Given the ability of D-cycloserine to improve the sociability of the Balb/c mouse strain and the regulatory role of the NMDA receptor in mTOR signaling, we wondered if D-cycloserine would improve the impaired sociability of the BTBR mouse strain. D-Cycloserine (320 mg/kg, ip) improved measures of sociability in a standard sociability paradigm and spontaneous grooming that emerged during social interaction with an ICR stimulus mouse in the BTBR strain; however, similar effects were observed in the Swiss Webster comparator strain, raising questions about their strain-selectivity. Importantly, the profile of D-cycloserine's effects on both measures of sociability and stereotypies is consistent with that of a desired medication for ASDs; specifically, a desired medication would not improve sociability at the expense of worsening stereotypic behaviors or vice versa.


BTBR mice; NMDA receptor; Sociability; Stereotypies; d-Cycloserine

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