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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are highly disabling developmental disorders with a population prevalence of 1–3%. Despite a strong genetic etiology, there are no current therapeutic options that target the core symptoms of ASD. Emerging evidence suggests that dysfunction of glutamatergic signaling, in particular through metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) receptors, may contribute to phenotypic deficits and may be appropriate targets for pharmacologic intervention. This study assessed the therapeutic potential of 2-methyl-6-phenylethyl-pyrididine (MPEP), an mGluR5-receptor antagonist, on repetitive and anxiety-like behaviors in the valproic acid (VPA) mouse model of autism. Mice were exposed prenatally on day E13 to VPA and assessed for repetitive self-grooming and marble burying behaviors as adults. Anxiety-like behavior and locomotor activity were measured in an open-field. VPA-exposed mice displayed increased repetitive and anxiety-like behaviors, consistent with previously published results. Across both marble burying and self-grooming assays, MPEP significantly reduced repetitive behaviors in VPA-treated mice, but had no effect on locomotor activity. These results are consistent with emerging preclinical literature that mGluR5-antagonists may have therapeutic efficacy for core symptoms of autism.
© 2011 Mehta et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
mice, animal behavior, autism, biological locomotion, autism spectrum disorders, mouse models, behavioral pharmacology, sedatives
Date Posted: 26 July 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.