Mouse Model of Autism Provides Insights into Human Patients, Potential Drug Targets

Durham, NC (Scicasts) — A new mouse model of a genetically-linked type of autism reveals more about the role of genes in the disorder and the underlying brain changes associated with autism’s social and learning problems. [Video] Scientists at Duke Health who developed the new model also discovered that targeting a brain receptor in mice with this type of autism could ease repetitive behaviours and improve learning in some animals. Their report, published May 10 in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that among more than a dozen different lines of mice developed around the world to mirror autism caused by mutations to the SHANK3 gene, Duke researchers are the first to create a mouse in which that gene has been completely eliminated. The total “knockout” of the gene makes the…


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