C57BL/6J bone marrow transplant increases sociability in BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mice

Jared J. Schwartzer, Charity E. Onore, Destanie Rose, Paul Ashwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Associative studies across a range of neurodevelopmental disorders have revealed a relationship between immune system function and behavioral deficits. These correlations are particularly evident in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a developmental disorder characterized by social behavior deficits and noted for its high instances of immune system dysfunction. Mouse models provide a unique opportunity to explore causal links between immune and nervous system function and reveal how changes in these systems alter behavioral profiles. The BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mouse strain is characterized by both social behavior impairments and aberrant immune responses, affording the unique opportunity to investigate the causal relationship between behavior and immunity through direct manipulation of these systems. Using bone marrow from the highly social C57BL/6J (C57) mouse strain, BTBR mice were tested for changes in social approach behavior and repetitive grooming following irradiation and bone marrow transplant. BTBR recipient mice treated with allogeneic bone marrow from C57 donor mice, but not syngeneic BTBR bone marrow, displayed increased sociability as measured by the three-chamber social approach task and total time spent social sniffing. In addition, C57 recipient mice given allogeneic bone marrow from BTBR donors showed a significant increase in repetitive grooming behavior. These data provide evidence for a causal relationship between peripheral immune phenotype and social behavior in the BTBR mouse strain and further strengthen and expand on our existing understanding of the role of immune function in behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Animal model
  • ASD
  • Autism
  • Behavior
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • BTBR Ttf/J
  • Immune
  • Sociability
  • Translational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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