Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can social deficits of autism and schizophrenia be modeled in animals?

Date:
May 6, 2011
Source:
CNR-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Summary:
Social deficits are common in several psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Individuals with severe social dysfunction can experience significant difficulties with everyday functioning. Now, scientists have further characterized a mouse model that provides some insights into biological factors related to social deficits, by comparing mice that had their oxytocin receptor gene made inactive, using a specialized technique called genetic knockout, with unaltered mice.

Social deficits are common in several psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Individuals with severe social dysfunction can experience significant difficulties with everyday functioning.

Oxytocin and vasopressin are hormones that play key roles in emotional and social behaviors and bonding. Oxytocin has been suggested as a treatment to improve social behavior in individuals with autism, and initial studies in humans appear promising.

Now, scientists have further characterized a mouse model that provides some insights into biological factors related to social deficits, by comparing mice that had their oxytocin receptor gene made inactive, using a specialized technique called genetic knockout, with unaltered mice.

The knockout mice (OTR-/-) displayed impaired social behavior, increased aggression and reduced cognitive flexibility leading to resistance to change. These behaviors returned to normal when the OTR-/-mice were given oxytocin or vasopressin treatment.

"These findings confirm and highlight the importance of oxytocin for social behaviors. This animal model also may be useful in evaluating the effectiveness of drugs, including vasopressin agonists, that may help improve social behavior in autism, schizophrenia, and other disorders" said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, the journal publishing these results.

"While no animal model can be expected to replicate the full complexity of the human behavioral autistic phenotype, the OTR-/- mouse may really help to understand the co-occurrence of these symptoms as a syndrome," explained Dr. Bice Chini, author and senior researcher of CNR -- Institute of Neuroscience, Milano.

One important goal now is to fully characterize the neurodevelopmental processes modulated by oxytocin and vasopressin in order to fully understand their ability to reverse autistic symptoms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNR-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mariaelvina Sala, Daniela Braida, Daniela Lentini, Marta Busnelli, Elisabetta Bulgheroni, Valeria Capurro, Annamaria Finardi, Andrea Donzelli, Linda Pattini, Tiziana Rubino, Daniela Parolaro, Katsuhiko Nishimori, Marco Parenti, Bice Chini. Pharmacologic Rescue of Impaired Cognitive Flexibility, Social Deficits, Increased Aggression, and Seizure Susceptibility in Oxytocin Receptor Null Mice: A Neurobehavioral Model of Autism. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; 69 (9): 875 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.12.022

Cite This Page:

CNR-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. "Can social deficits of autism and schizophrenia be modeled in animals?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505083427.htm>.
CNR-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. (2011, May 6). Can social deficits of autism and schizophrenia be modeled in animals?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505083427.htm
CNR-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. "Can social deficits of autism and schizophrenia be modeled in animals?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505083427.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins