Social deficits, stereotypy and early emergence of repetitive behavior in the C58/J inbred mouse strain

Bryce C. Ryan, Nancy B. Young, Jacqueline Crawley, James W. Bodfish, Sheryl S. Moy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Mouse lines with behavioral phenotypes relevant to symptoms in neurodevelopmental disorders may provide models to test hypotheses about disease etiology and to evaluate potential treatments. The present studies were designed to confirm and expand earlier work on the intriguing behavioral profile of the C58/J inbred strain, including low social approach and aberrant repetitive movements. Additional tests were selected to reflect aspects of autism, a severe neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by emergence of symptoms early in life, higher prevalence in males, social deficits and abnormal repetitive behavior. Mice from the C57BL/6J inbred strain, which has a similar genetic lineage and physical appearance to C58/J, served as a comparison group. Our results revealed that C58/J mice display elevated activity levels by postnatal day 6, which persist into adulthood. Despite normal olfactory ability, young adult male C58/J mice showed deficits in social approach in the three-chambered choice assay and failed to demonstrate social transmission of food preference. In contrast, female C58/J mice performed similarly to female C57BL/6J mice in both social tests. C58/J mice of both sexes demonstrated abnormal repetitive behaviors, displaying excessive jumping and back flipping in both social and non-social situations. These stereotypies were clearly evident in C58/J pups by postnatal days 20-21, and were also observed in C58/J dams during a test for maternal behavior. Overall, the strain profile for C58/J, including spontaneously developing motor stereotypies emerging early in the developmental trajectory, and social deficits primarily in males, models multiple components of the autism phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-188
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 17 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Maternal behavior
  • Neonatal development
  • Olfaction
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Social approach
  • Social transmission of food preference
  • Stereotypy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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