Rodent Model for Studying Autism Spectrum Disorders
Case Number: 15-106
Preclinical studies measuring symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and comorbid conditions
Testing candidate drugs for treating ASD and comorbid conditions
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) represent an early-onset collection of neurodevelopmental deficits that now affect as many as 1 in 68 children, with a particularly high prevalence in males. ASD is characterized by repetitive behaviours and impairments in social and communicative skills, and diagnosis is currently limited to behavioural symptoms alone. Thus, accurate symptomatic identification in relevant animal models is imperative, especially since ASDs are frequently comorbid with many other neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.
At present, few ASD-specific behavioural test batteries are available, with none that provide a comprehensive symptomatic assessment. Without the capacity to accurately evaluate characteristic behavioural symptoms, connections between behaviour and neuropathology cannot be made, and the ability to understand this multifaceted disorder and to develop useful ASD treatments is limited.
This model combines traditional behavioural testing paradigms with new technologies that allow evaluation of rat "speech" in the ultrasonic spectrum (Ultrasonic Vocalization). It provides the capability to behaviourally assess current and new ASD rat models for alterations in social communication and social interactions in a variety of situations, thus making it ideal for testing potential ASD therapeutants. The ability to evaluate a wide variety of behaviours and communicative function simultaneously also makes this technology highly useful for assessment of comorbid disorders, such as language disorders, cognitive delays, neurological disorders, etc.
Advantages: Validated rodent model for studying the symptoms of ASD
Stage of Development: Validated behavioural test battery