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시냅스 뇌질환 연구단
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Enhanced fear limits behavioral flexibility in Shank2-deficient mice

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Title
Enhanced fear limits behavioral flexibility in Shank2-deficient mice
Author(s)
Miru Yun; Eunjoon Kim; Min Whan Jung
Publication Date
2022-10
Journal
Molecular Autism, v.13, no.1
Publisher
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Abstract
© The Author(s) 2022. Background: A core symptom of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is repetitive and restrictive patterns of behavior. Cognitive inflexibility has been proposed as a potential basis for these symptoms of ASD. More generally, behavioral inflexibility has been proposed to underlie repetitive and restrictive behavior in ASD. Here, we investigated whether and how behavioral flexibility is compromised in a widely used animal model of ASD. Methods: We compared the behavioral performance of Shank2-knockout mice and wild-type littermates in reversal learning employing a probabilistic classical trace conditioning paradigm. A conditioned stimulus (odor) was paired with an unconditioned appetitive (water, 6 μl) or aversive (air puff ) stimulus in a probabilistic manner. We also compared air puff-induced eye closure responses of Shank2-knockout and wild-type mice. Results: Male, but not female, Shank2-knockout mice showed impaired reversal learning when the expected outcomes consisted of a water reward and a strong air puff. Moreover, male, but not female, Shank2-knockout mice showed stronger anticipatory eye closure responses to the air puff compared to wild-type littermates, raising the possibility that the impairment might reflect enhanced fear. In support of this contention, male Shank2-knockout mice showed intact reversal learning when the strong air puff was replaced with a mild air puff and when the expected outcomes consisted of only rewards. Limitations: We examined behavioral flexibility in one behavioral task (reversal learning in a probabilistic classical trace conditioning paradigm) using one ASD mouse model (Shank2-knockout mice). Thus, future work is needed to clarify the extent to which our findings (that enhanced fear limits behavioral flexibility in ASD) can explain the behavioral inflexibility associated with ASD. Also, we examined only the relationship between fear and behavioral flexibility, leaving open the question of whether abnormalities in processes other than fear contribute to behavioral inflexibility in ASD. Finally, the neurobiological mechanisms linking Shank2-knockout and enhanced fear remain to be elucidated. Conclusions: Our results indicate that enhanced fear suppresses reversal learning in the presence of an intact capability to learn cue-outcome contingency changes in Shank2-knockout mice. Our findings suggest that behavioral flexibility might be seriously limited by abnormal emotional responses in ASD.
URI
https://pr.ibs.re.kr/handle/8788114/12335
DOI
10.1186/s13229-022-00518-1
ISSN
2040-2392
Appears in Collections:
Center for Synaptic Brain Dysfunctions(시냅스 뇌질환 연구단) > 1. Journal Papers (저널논문)
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