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Neuropharmacology. 2018 Sep 17. pii: S0028-3908(18)30636-1. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2018.09.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Dissociated features of social cognition altered in mouse models of schizophrenia: Focus on social dominance and acoustic communication.

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Neurobiology of Decision Making, Institute of Neuroscience Paris-Saclay, UMR9197, Université Paris-Sud-CNRS, Orsay, France.
Theranexus, Lyon, France.
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA, Inserm U1216, BIG-GPC, 38000, Grenoble, France.
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Inserm U1216, GIN, 38000, Grenoble, France.
Neurobiology of Decision Making, Institute of Neuroscience Paris-Saclay, UMR9197, Université Paris-Sud-CNRS, Orsay, France. Electronic address:


Social and communication impairments are common features of psychiatric disorders. Animal models of schizophrenia display various social deficits due to difference in tests, mouse strains and drugs. Moreover, communication deficits have not been studied. Our objectives were to assess and compare three major features of social cognition in different mouse models of schizophrenia: interest for a social stimulus, organization and acceptance of social contact, and acoustic communication to question whether mouse models for schizophrenia with social dysfunction also exhibit vocal communication defects. To achieve these aims we treated acutely C57BL/6J mice either with MK-801 or ketamine and tested WT and microtubule-associated protein 6 -MAP6- KO mice in two complementary social tasks: the 3-chamber test which measures social motivation and the social interaction task -SIT- which relies on prefrontal cortex activity and measures the ability to organize and respond to a real interaction, and which promotes ultrasonic vocalizations. Our results reveal that schizophrenia models have intact interest for a social stimulus in the 3-chamber test. However, thanks to principal component analyses of social interaction data, we demonstrate that social motivation and the ability to act socially rely on distinct mechanisms in revealing a decrease in dominance and communication in pharmacological schizophrenia models along with social withdraw, classically observed in schizophrenia, in MK-801 model. In this latter model, some social parameters can be significantly improved by aripiprazole, an atypical antipsychotic. Our social protocol, combined with fine-tuned analysis, is expected to provide an innovative framework for testing future treatments in preclinical models.


Ketamine; MAP6; MK801; Social interaction; Ultrasonic vocalizations

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