Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) core symptoms include deficits of social interaction, stereotyped behaviours, dysfunction in language and communication. Beyond them, several additional symptoms, such as cognitive impairment, anxiety-like states and hyperactivity are often occurring, mainly overlapping with other neuropsychiatric diseases. To untangle mechanisms underlying ASD etiology, and to identify possible pharmacological approaches, different factors, such as environmental, immunological and genetic ones, need to be considered. In this context, ASD animal models, aiming to reproduce the wide range of behavioural phenotypes of this uniquely human disorder, represent a very useful tool. Ketamine administration in early postnatal life of mice has already been studied as a suitable animal model resembling psychotic-like symptoms. Here, we investigated whether ketamine administration, at postnatal days 7, 9 and 11, might induce behavioural features able to mimic ASD typical symptoms in adult mice. To this aim, we developed a 4-days behavioural tests battery, including Marble Burying, Hole Board, Olfactory and Social tests, to assess repetitive and stereotyped behaviour, social deficits and anxiety-like symptoms. Moreover, by using this mouse model, we performed neurochemical and biomolecular analyses, quantifying neurotransmitters belonging to excitatory-inhibitory pathways, such as glutamate, glutamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), as well as immune activation biomarkers related to ASD, such as CD11b and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), in the hippocampus and amygdala. Possible alterations in levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the hippocampus and amygdala were also evaluated. Our results showed an increase in stereotyped behaviours, together with social impairments and anxiety-like behaviour in adult mice, receiving ketamine administration in early postnatal life. In addition, we found decreased BDNF and enhanced GFAP hippocampal expression levels, accompanied by elevations in glutamate amount, as well as reduction in GABA content in amygdala and hippocampus. In conclusion, early ketamine administration may represent a suitable animal model of ASD, exhibiting face validity to mimic specific ASD symptoms, such as social deficits, repetitive repertoire and anxiety-like behaviour.

Ketamine administration in early postnatal life as a tool for mimicking Autism Spectrum Disorders core symptoms

Bove M.;Schiavone S.;Tucci P.;Sikora V.;Dimonte S.;Colia A. L.;Morgese M. G.;Trabace L.
2022

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) core symptoms include deficits of social interaction, stereotyped behaviours, dysfunction in language and communication. Beyond them, several additional symptoms, such as cognitive impairment, anxiety-like states and hyperactivity are often occurring, mainly overlapping with other neuropsychiatric diseases. To untangle mechanisms underlying ASD etiology, and to identify possible pharmacological approaches, different factors, such as environmental, immunological and genetic ones, need to be considered. In this context, ASD animal models, aiming to reproduce the wide range of behavioural phenotypes of this uniquely human disorder, represent a very useful tool. Ketamine administration in early postnatal life of mice has already been studied as a suitable animal model resembling psychotic-like symptoms. Here, we investigated whether ketamine administration, at postnatal days 7, 9 and 11, might induce behavioural features able to mimic ASD typical symptoms in adult mice. To this aim, we developed a 4-days behavioural tests battery, including Marble Burying, Hole Board, Olfactory and Social tests, to assess repetitive and stereotyped behaviour, social deficits and anxiety-like symptoms. Moreover, by using this mouse model, we performed neurochemical and biomolecular analyses, quantifying neurotransmitters belonging to excitatory-inhibitory pathways, such as glutamate, glutamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), as well as immune activation biomarkers related to ASD, such as CD11b and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), in the hippocampus and amygdala. Possible alterations in levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the hippocampus and amygdala were also evaluated. Our results showed an increase in stereotyped behaviours, together with social impairments and anxiety-like behaviour in adult mice, receiving ketamine administration in early postnatal life. In addition, we found decreased BDNF and enhanced GFAP hippocampal expression levels, accompanied by elevations in glutamate amount, as well as reduction in GABA content in amygdala and hippocampus. In conclusion, early ketamine administration may represent a suitable animal model of ASD, exhibiting face validity to mimic specific ASD symptoms, such as social deficits, repetitive repertoire and anxiety-like behaviour.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11369/418027
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