Cortical Dependent Learning In Mouse Models Of Autism | 12534
Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism
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Intellectual impairments are a primary symptom of many neurodevelopmental disorders, and an associated symptom of autism.
Analogous cross-species tasks of cognition that use similar equipment and methods could advance the search for cognitive
enhancers. We employed an innovative touch screen technology for mice to design a complex cortically dependent task that
requires inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility and relational learning. We assessed the inbred strain, BTBR T+tf/J (BTBR),
a mouse model of autism with social and cognitive deficits, as compared to a control strain, C57BL/6J (B6), on a simple visual
discrimination task and on transitive inference (TI). BTBR performed normally on pairwise discrimination and reversal. BTBR
displayed deficits on components of TI, specifically when four premise pairings were interspersed during inference training
reviews, which require more complex, flexible integrations of knowledge. Performance by BTBR was worse than B6 on the end
paired A > E, similar to adults affected by an autism spectrum disorder. Our data demonstrate that mice are capable of complex
visual discriminations and higher order TI tasks using methods and equipment similar to those used in humans and non-human
primates, and that deficits may be detected in mouse models of autism using the touch screen technology.
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