Although the etiology of autism is unclear, disruptions of the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems have been associated with the disorder. Based on behavioral differences observed in the BALB/c strain of mice in comparison to other strains, notably, C57BL/6J mice, it has been suggested that the BALB/c strain may serve as an animal model of autism. However, to date, most work investigating neural and behavioral abnormalities in this strain has been performed in adult animals. Therefore, the present study was conducted to examine the development of the central dopaminergic and serotonergic systems of BALB/c mice as compared to C57BL/6J mice. Levels of dopamine, serotonin, and their metabolites in several different brain regions and at three ages during development were measured. Alterations in both monoaminergic systems associated with age and strain were detected across brain regions indicating that there are neurochemical differences between these strains early in life. However, despite these differences in the development of brain monoaminergic systems, it remains difficult to declare this strain as a valid model of autism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology
- Strain difference