Inchworming: A novel motor stereotypy in the BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mouse model of Autism

Jacklyn D. Smith, Jong M. Rho, Susan A. Masino, Richelle Mychasiuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a behaviorally defined neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by decreased reciprocal social interaction, abnormal communication, and repetitive behaviors with restricted interest. As diagnosis is based on clinical criteria, any potentially relevant rodent models of this heterogeneous disorder should ideally recapitulate these diverse behavioral traits. The BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mouse is an established animal model of ASD, displaying repetitive behaviors such as increased grooming, as well as cognitive inflexibility. With respect to social interaction and interest, the juvenile play test has been employed in multiple rodent models of ASD. Here, we show that when BTBR mice are tested in a juvenile social interaction enclosure containing sawdust bedding, they display a repetitive synchronous digging motion. This repetitive motor behavior, referred to as "inchworming", was named because of the stereotypic nature of the movements exhibited by the mice while moving horizontally across the floor. Inchworming mice must use their fore-and hind-limbs in synchrony to displace the bedding, performing a minimum of one inward and one outward motion. Although both BTBR and C56BL/6J (B6) mice exhibit this behavior, BTBR mice demonstrate a significantly higher duration and frequency of inchworming and a decreased latency to initiate inchworming when placed in a bedded enclosure. We conclude that this newly described behavior provides a measure of a repetitive motor stereotypy that can be easily measured in animal models of ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere50791
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Volume2014
Issue number89
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Animal models
  • Autism
  • Behavior
  • BTBR
  • Inbred C57BL
  • Issue 89
  • Mice
  • Motor stereotypy
  • Repetitive
  • Social behavior

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