Sociability and brain development in BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J mice.

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TitleSociability and brain development in BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J mice.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsFairless, AH, Dow, HC, Kreibich, ASadalge, Torre, M, Kuruvilla, M, Gordon, E, Morton, EA, Tan, J, Berrettini, WH, Li, H, Abel, T, Brodkin, ES
JournalBehav Brain Res
Volume228
Issue2
Pagination299-310
Date Published2012 Mar 17
ISSN1872-7549
KeywordsAge Factors, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Brain, Corpus Callosum, Female, Litter Size, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Organ Size, Sex Factors, Social Behavior, Species Specificity
Abstract

Sociability--the tendency to seek social interaction--propels the development of social cognition and social skills, but is disrupted in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). BALB/cJ and C57BL/6J inbred mouse strains are useful models of low and high levels of juvenile sociability, respectively, but the neurobiological and developmental factors that account for the strains' contrasting sociability levels are largely unknown. We hypothesized that BALB/cJ mice would show increasing sociability with age but that C57BL/6J mice would show high sociability throughout development. We also hypothesized that littermates would resemble one another in sociability more than non-littermates. Finally, we hypothesized that low sociability would be associated with low corpus callosum size and increased brain size in BALB/cJ mice. Separate cohorts of C57BL/6J and BALB/cJ mice were tested for sociability at 19-, 23-, 31-, 42-, or 70-days-of-age, and brain weights and mid-sagittal corpus callosum area were measured. BALB/cJ sociability increased with age, and a strain by age interaction in sociability between 31 and 42 days of age suggested strong effects of puberty on sociability development. Sociability scores clustered according to litter membership in both strains, and perinatal litter size and sex ratio were identified as factors that contributed to this clustering in C57BL/6J, but not BALB/cJ, litters. There was no association between corpus callosum size and sociability, but smaller brains were associated with lower sociability in BALB/cJ mice. The associations reported here will provide directions for future mechanistic studies of sociability development.

DOI10.1016/j.bbr.2011.12.001
Alternate JournalBehav. Brain Res.
PubMed ID22178318
PubMed Central IDPMC3474345
Grant ListT32 MH017168-25 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH080718 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
T32 MH017168 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01MH080718 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
5-T32-MH017168 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH080718-04 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
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