Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of disorders characterized by core behavioral features including stereotyped interests, repetitive behaviors and impairments in communication and social interaction. In addition, widespread changes in the immune systems of individuals with ASD have been identified, in particular increased evidence of inflammation in the periphery and central nervous system. While the etiology of these disorders remains unclear, it appears that multiple gene and environmental factors are involved. The need for animal models paralleling the behavioral and immunological features of ASD is paramount to better understand the link between immune system dysregulation and behavioral deficits observed in these disorders. As such, the asocial BTBR mouse strain displays both ASD relevant behaviors and persistent immune dysregulation, providing a model system that has and continues to be instructive in understanding the complex nature of ASD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems