Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are severe neurodevelopmental disorders that typically emerge in early childhood. Animal models of ASD include various genetically modified or inbred strains of mice expressing autism traits, as well as models with targeted mutations in candidate genes.
The BTBR T+tf/J mouse model has been reported to exhibit several symptoms of ASD, including reduced social interactions and anxiety compared to other inbred strains. Additionally, the mouse brain anatomy in this model has previously revealed profound abnormalities compared to regular strains, such as C57Bl/6J mice.
Charles River scientists recently characterized the BTBR T+tf/J model using behavioral studies and noninvasive imaging to validate its utility for preclinical drug discovery of ASD therapies. The BTBR T+tf/J model exhibited:
Impairment in the rotarod test, a measure of motor behavior
Decreased whole brain and striatum volumes, and statistical variation in metabolite levels
Increased horizontal activity in the open field locomotor test
Less freezing behavior in the contextual fear conditioning test
The brain anatomy and metabolic profile were assessed using MRI and 1H-MRS imaging, respectively. The imaging data was complemented by histological and biochemical tools to assess ASD-related markers. Taken together, the behavior tests and imaging data support the utility of the BTBR T+tf/J mouse model for ASD preclinical studies. You can review highlights from the supporting data below, or click here for the full poster.