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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1997 Jul;132(2):169-80.

Inbred strain differences in prepulse inhibition of the mouse startle response.

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Section on Behavioral Neuropharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1375, USA.


Prepulse inhibition is the phenomenon in which a weak prepulse stimulus suppresses the response to a startling stimulus. Patients with schizophrenia have impaired prepulse inhibition which is thought to reflect dysfunctional sensorimotor gating mechanisms. To investigate the potential genetic basis for differences in sensorimotor gating, the responses of 13 inbred strains of mice were evaluated using the prepulse inhibition paradigm. Ten male mice from A/J, AKR/J, BALB/cByJ, BUB/BnJ, C3H/HeJ, C57BL/6J, C57BL/10J, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, ST/bJ, 129/J, 129/SvJ, 129/SvEvTac inbred strains were tested for acoustic prepulse inhibition of acoustic and tactile startle responses. There was a wide range of responses among the inbred strains of mice. Exact strain distributions were determined for each combination of prepulse sound level and startle stimulus. In general, mice from the 129/SvEvTac, AKR/J, 129/J, and 129/SvJ strains displayed high levels of prepulse inhibition of both the acoustic and tactile startle responses. C57BL/6J, C57BL/10J and BUB/BnJ mice showed low levels of prepulse inhibition. There was also a wide range in the amplitude of the acoustic and tactile startle responses. C57BL/10J and FVB/NJ mice displayed the greatest startle responses and DBA/2J, 129/J and 129/SvJ had the poorest startle responses. There was no correlation between the level of prepulse inhibition and the amplitude of the startle response. These findings indicate that inbred strains of mice may be a useful tool to study the genetic basis of sensorimotor gating.

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