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      Deficiency of a brain-specific chemokine-like molecule, SAM3, induces cardinal phenotypes of autism spectrum disorders in mice

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          Abstract

          Chemokines are small secreted signaling proteins produced by a broad range of cells, including immune cells. Several studies have recently suggested potential roles of chemokines and their receptors in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). SAM3 is a novel brain-specific chemokine-like molecule with an unknown physiological function. We explored the relevance of chemokines in the development of ASD in mice, with a focus on SAM3. We generated Sam3 gene knockout (KO) mice and characterized their behavioral phenotypes, with a focus on those relevant to ASD. Sam3-deficient mice displayed all three core phenotypes of ASD: impaired responses to social novelty, defects in social communication, and increased repetitive behavior. In addition, they showed increased anxiety. Interestingly, gender differences were identified for several behaviors: only male Sam3 KO mice exhibited increased anxiety and increased repetitive behaviors. Sam3 KO mice did not exhibit changes in other behaviors, including locomotor activities, fear learning and memory, and object recognition memory. These findings indicate that a deficiency of SAM3, a novel brain-specific chemokine-like molecule, may lead to the pathogenesis of ASDs and suggest the possibility that SAM3, a soluble factor, could be a novel therapeutic target for ASD treatment.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Shank3 mutant mice display autistic-like behaviours and striatal dysfunction

          Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) comprise a range of disorders that share a core of neurobehavioural deficits characterized by widespread abnormalities in social interactions, deficits in communication as well as restricted interests and repetitive behaviours. The neurological basis and circuitry mechanisms underlying these abnormal behaviours are poorly understood. Shank3 is a postsynaptic protein, whose disruption at the genetic level is thought to be responsible for development of 22q13 deletion syndrome (Phelan-McDermid Syndrome) and other non-syndromic ASDs. Here we show that mice with Shank3 gene deletions exhibit self-injurious repetitive grooming and deficits in social interaction. Cellular, electrophysiological and biochemical analyses uncovered defects at striatal synapses and cortico-striatal circuits in Shank3 mutant mice. Our findings demonstrate a critical role for Shank3 in the normal development of neuronal connectivity and establish causality between a disruption in the Shank3 gene and the genesis of autistic like-behaviours in mice.
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            Object recognition test in mice.

            The object recognition test is now among the most commonly used behavioral tests for mice. A mouse is presented with two similar objects during the first session, and then one of the two objects is replaced by a new object during a second session. The amount of time taken to explore the new object provides an index of recognition memory. As more groups have used the protocol, the variability of the procedures used in the object recognition test has increased steadily. This protocol provides a necessary standardization of the procedure. This protocol reduces inter-individual variability with the use of a selection criterion based on a minimal time of exploration for both objects during each session. In this protocol, we describe the three most commonly used variants, containing long (3 d), short (1 d) or no habituation phases. Thus, with a short intersession interval (e.g., 6 h), this procedure can be performed in 4, 2 or 1 d, respectively, according to the duration of the habituation phase. This protocol should allow for the comparison of results from different studies, while permitting adaption of the protocol to the constraints of the experimenter.
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              Autistic-like social behaviour in Shank2-mutant mice improved by restoring NMDA receptor function.

              Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of conditions characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviours. ASD is a highly heritable disorder involving various genetic determinants. Shank2 (also known as ProSAP1) is a multi-domain scaffolding protein and signalling adaptor enriched at excitatory neuronal synapses, and mutations in the human SHANK2 gene have recently been associated with ASD and intellectual disability. Although ASD-associated genes are being increasingly identified and studied using various approaches, including mouse genetics, further efforts are required to delineate important causal mechanisms with the potential for therapeutic application. Here we show that Shank2-mutant (Shank2(-/-)) mice carrying a mutation identical to the ASD-associated microdeletion in the human SHANK2 gene exhibit ASD-like behaviours including reduced social interaction, reduced social communication by ultrasonic vocalizations, and repetitive jumping. These mice show a marked decrease in NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) glutamate receptor (NMDAR) function. Direct stimulation of NMDARs with D-cycloserine, a partial agonist of NMDARs, normalizes NMDAR function and improves social interaction in Shank2(-/-) mice. Furthermore, treatment of Shank2(-/-) mice with a positive allosteric modulator of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5), which enhances NMDAR function via mGluR5 activation, also normalizes NMDAR function and markedly enhances social interaction. These results suggest that reduced NMDAR function may contribute to the development of ASD-like phenotypes in Shank2(-/-) mice, and mGluR modulation of NMDARs offers a potential strategy to treat ASD.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                zebrakim@cnu.ac.kr
                shin@ibs.re.kr
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                28 November 2017
                28 November 2017
                2017
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1784 4496, GRID grid.410720.0, Center for Cognition and Sociality, Institute for Basic Science, Yuseong-gu, ; Daejeon, 34141 Republic of Korea
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1791 8264, GRID grid.412786.e, Basic Science, IBS School, University of Science and Technology, ; Daejeon, 34113 Republic of Korea
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0722 6377, GRID grid.254230.2, Department of Biology, Chungnam National University, ; Daejeon, 34134 Republic of Korea
                [4 ]ISNI 0000000121053345, GRID grid.35541.36, Center for Functional Connectomics, Brain Science Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, ; Seoul, 02797 Republic of Korea
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0840 2678, GRID grid.222754.4, Laboratory of Cell Death and Human Diseases, Department of Life Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Korea University, ; Seoul, 02841 Republic of Korea
                Article
                16769
                10.1038/s41598-017-16769-5
                5705707
                29184127
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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