Novel Object Exploration in the C58/J Mouse Model of Autistic-Like Behavior
Mouse models of autistic like behaviors are a valuable tool to use when studying the causes, symptoms, and potential treatments for autism. The inbred C58/J strain is a strain of interest for this model and has previously been shown to possess face validity for some of the core traits of autism, including low social behavior and elevated motor stereotypies. Higher order repetitive behaviors have not been extensively studied in this strain, or in mice in general. In this study, we looked for evidence of higher-order repetitive behaviors in the C58/J strain using a novel object assay. This assay utilized a mouse's natural exploratory behavior among unfamiliar objects to identify potential sequencing patterns in motor activity. The motor stereotypies displayed by the C58/J strain during testing were consistent with past studies. The C58/J strain also displayed a high preference for a single object in the round arena assays and the females demonstrating elevated sequencing patterns in the round arena. Although the C58/J strain did not show pervasive evidence of higher-order repetitive behaviors across all measures, there was evidence of higher order repetitive behaviors in certain situations. This study further demonstrates the potential of the C58/J mouse strains as a model for lower-order and potentially, higher-order repetitive behaviors. This study also demonstrates that the shape of the novel object arena can change the behavior displayed by the test animals. Further studies utilizing the C58/J strain and further validation of the novel object assay are warranted.
Behavioural Brain Research