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Mutant mice show key autism traits

anxiety. They also showed sporadic seizures.

The researchers concluded that "the mutant mice exhibited deficits in all social paradigms tested and also showed exaggerated reaction to sensory stimuli, anxiety-like behaviors, seizures, and decreased learning, which are features associated with ASD."

Finally, the researchers found that the mutant mice showed the same kind of abnormal overgrowth of neurons and their interconnections seen in some people with ASD that also show increased brain volume and enlarged heads.

Wrote Joy Greer and Anthony Wynshaw-Boris in a preview in the same issue of Neuron, "caution is warranted because there are aspects of ASD that are not recapitulated in the Pten mutants. For example, the Pten mutants do not display the expression of abnormal repetitive behaviors seen in ASD, although it is unreasonable to expect perfect phenotypic overlap of human ASD with any mouse model."

Also, they wrote, "as appropriately pointed out by the authors, Pten deletion is restricted to postmitotic neurons in the CNS [central nervous system] in their model, and current evidence suggests that ASD is a developmental rather than a neurodegenerative disorder."

Greer and Wynshaw-Boris concluded that "Whether or not the findings . . . have direct relevance to ASD, the experimental results described are intriguing and represent an important entry point to understanding the role of Pten in postmitotic neurons of the hippocampus and cortex as well as providing new insight into the molecular correlates mediating social- and anxiety-related behaviors in the postnatal CNS."


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Source:Cell Press


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