A rodent model of spontaneous stereotypy: initial characterization of developmental, environmental, and neurobiological factors.
Stereotypies are patterns of motor behavior that are repetitive, excessive, topographically invariant, and that lack any obvious function or purpose. In humans, stereotyped behaviors are associated with psychiatric, neurological, and developmental disorders. In animals, stereotypy has been frequently associated with adverse environmental circumstances and often related to alterations in striatal dopamine. To assess the development of stereotyped behaviors and to test the hypothesis that these behaviors are associated with environmental restriction, deer mice were housed in either standard laboratory cages or larger, enriched cages, and the development of stereotypy was followed from weaning over a 17-week period. Standard-caged deer mice engaged in stereotyped behaviors at a higher rate and developed these behaviors more quickly when compared to animals in enriched caging. Additionally, enriched caging was associated with higher rates of patterned running, whereas jumping and backward somersaulting were typically observed in standard cages. In addition, there was a significant effect of litter, but no effect of sex or cage, on the time to develop stereotypy. No differences were found in the density of either striatal D1 or D2 dopamine receptors or the concentration of striatal dopamine or its metabolites as a function of rearing condition or as a function of whether the animals developed stereotypy. These results characterize the development of stereotypies in this species, demonstrate the importance of environmental conditions in the genesis of stereotypy, and suggest that alterations in striatal dopamine content or dopamine receptor density do not account for the expression of stereotyped behaviors in this model.
Powell, SB; Newman, HA; Pendergast, JF; Lewis, MH
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