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Modeling Social Communication Deficits in Mouse Models of Autism | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2165-7890

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Review Article

Modeling Social Communication Deficits in Mouse Models of Autism

Caterina Michetti, Laura Ricceri, and Maria Luisa Scattoni*

Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology Section, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

*Corresponding Author:
Maria Luisa Scattoni
Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology Section
Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Viale Regina Elena 299
I-00161 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39-06-49903104
Fax: +39-06-4957821
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: September 26, 2012; Accepted date: November 12, 2012; Published date: November 16, 2012

Citation: Michetti C, Ricceri L, Scattoni ML (2012) Modeling Social Communication Deficits in Mouse Models of Autism. Autism S1:007. doi:10.4172/2165-7890.S1-007

Copyright: © 2012 Michetti C, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Male and female mice emit ultrasonic vocalizations during infancy when pups are separated from mother and littermates, as well as at adulthood in different experimental/social contexts. Mouse ultrasonic vocalizations had become now a popular assay for behavioral phenotyping throughout the life-span of models of autism since this response represents the best option to detect deficits within the social communication domain in the mouse species. In the present review, we describe the available methods to elicit and record mouse ultrasonic vocalizations in different social contexts and at different ages. Behavioral data collected on autism animal models in these paradigms/ contexts are also discussed. Moreover, we strongly emphasized the need of a standardization of the behavioral methods to better compare results from different laboratories.

Thanks to the progresses of computer technology, researchers can now perform detailed analyses of the vocal repertoire (classifying ultrasonic vocalizations into different categories) in autism mouse models. Recently, these analyses have revealed unusual vocal patterns in selected mouse lines. This innovative approach allows to detect also qualitative alterations in the social communication repertoire usually not identified with the standard analysis of emission rate. Future studies should be aimed at performing quantitative and qualitative analyses of vocalization patterns also in preclinical studies evaluating potential treatments in validated autism mouse models.

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