Modeling Features of Autism in Rodents

Elaine Y. Hsiao, Catherine Bregere, Natalia Malkova and Paul H. Patterson

in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195371826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965212 | DOI:
Modeling Features of Autism in Rodents

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  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience


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Animal models of many neurological diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, multiple sclerosis) have proven enormously useful for determining the roles of genes and environment, for understanding pathogenesis, and for testing potential therapeutic approaches. There is some skepticism, however, concerning models of psychiatric or mental illnesses. Although autism has a strong genetic basis, it is not a monogenic disorder, and thus it is not possible to establish an immediately relevant genetic mouse model, as was done with Huntington's disease. Nonetheless, there are several genetic changes that do entail an elevated risk for autism, and mouse models of these changes share some features with the human disorder. There are also several human disorders caused by single gene mutations that display autistic features and mouse mutants of these mutations display behavior or neuropathology relevant to autism. In addition, models based on autism etiology are valuable, and there are several known environmental risk factors that are being successfully modeled in rodents. Finally, there are brain lesion models of interest. This chapter discusses current genetic, environmental risk factor, and lesion models.

Chapter.  24002 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ; Neurology ; Neuroscience

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