Behavioral Characterization of SLIT3 Knock-out Mice: SLIT3 Implications in ASD
Objectives: The purpose of the current study is to investigate how SLIT3 mutation affects a variety of behavioral domains associated with autism in mice.
Methods: In order to characterize behavioral changes resulting from SLIT3 mutation, we examined two to four month old male and female SLIT3 knockout (KO) mice for locomotive, emotional, social, and cognitive behaviors using the open field, three chamber social, and novel object recognition tests.
Results: SLIT3 KO mice were observed to travel significantly shorter distances than WT mice in the open field test. In addition, female KO mice tended to spend shorter time in the center area of the open field when compared to the respective controls. Interestingly, KO mice were not different from the controls in social approach behavior and object recognition memory tests.
Conclusions: The reduced activity of SLIT3 KO mice in the open field test indicates that the KO mice are hypo-locomotive. The heightened tendency to avoid center area of the open field shown only in the female KO mice suggests that the deletion of SLIT3 induces a sex-specific anxiety. These findings suggest that SLIT3 may be involved in the formation of neural circuits that regulate locomotion and anxiety rather than social or cognitive behaviors.