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Reduced isolation-induced pup ultrasonic communication in mouse pups lacking brain serotonin

Overview of attention for article published in Molecular Autism, March 2015
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Reduced isolation-induced pup ultrasonic communication in mouse pups lacking brain serotonin
Published in
Molecular Autism, March 2015
DOI 10.1186/s13229-015-0003-6
Pubmed ID

Valentina Mosienko, Daniel Beis, Natalia Alenina, Markus Wöhr


Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is a key modulatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) that plays an important role as a developmental signal. Several lines of evidence associate altered 5-HT signaling with psychopathology in humans, particularly neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD are characterized by persistent social and communication deficits along with stereotyped and repetitive patterns of behavior, with all symptoms emerging early during development. Here, we employed a mouse model devoid of brain 5-HT due to the lack of the gene encoding tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2), the initial and rate-limiting enzyme of 5-HT synthesis in the CNS. Tph2 null mutant (Tph2 (-/-) ) mice show normal prenatal development; however, they display for yet unknown reasons severe growth retardation during the first postnatal weeks. We investigated, therefore, whether Tph2 (-/-) mice display deficits in isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) as pups during early life. Isolation-induced USV are the most commonly studied behavioral measure to assess developmental delays and communication deficits in rodent models for ASD, particularly as they serve an important communicative function in coordinating mother-pup interactions. Tph2 (-/-) mouse pups displayed a clear deficit in the emission of isolation-induced USV, as compared to heterozygous and wildtype littermates, exactly during growth retardation onset, including reduced call numbers and deficits in call clustering and temporal organization. The ultrasonic communication impairment displayed by Tph2 (-/-) mouse pups is likely to result in a deficient mother-infant interaction, presumably contributing to their growth retardation phenotype, and represents a prominent feature relevant to ASD.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 65 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Netherlands 1 2%
Brazil 1 2%
United Kingdom 1 2%
Argentina 1 2%
Croatia 1 2%
Unknown 60 92%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 18 28%
Researcher 12 18%
Student > Master 11 17%
Student > Bachelor 7 11%
Student > Postgraduate 6 9%
Other 8 12%
Unknown 3 5%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Neuroscience 17 26%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 14 22%
Psychology 11 17%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 8%
Medicine and Dentistry 4 6%
Other 8 12%
Unknown 6 9%