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Selective breeding of reduced sensorimotor gating in wistar rats


Freudenberg,  Florian
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Schwabe, K., Freudenberg, F., & Koch, M. (2007). Selective breeding of reduced sensorimotor gating in wistar rats. Behavior Genetics, 37(5), 706-712. doi:10.1007/s10519-007-9166-z.

Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle is an operational measure of sensorimotor gating that is reduced in some neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g. schizophrenia). Animal models have revealed insight into the neuronal and pharmacological underpinnings of PPI-deficits. Recent work has shown that a PPI-deficit can be selectively bred in Wistar rats and is already stable in the second filial generation. We here report on developmental and parametric characteristics of sensorimotor gating deficits in the 4th and 6th filial generation of male rats selectively bred for low PPI (low PPI) compared to rats with normal levels of PPI (high PPI). Low PPI rats showed significantly reduced PPI and variable startle magnitude (in pulse alone trials) along with reduced short-term habituation of startle as adults. Reduced PPI in the low PPI rats was found throughout development (tested on postnatal days 21, 35, 49, 70). PPI-deficits in the low PPI rats were evident at prepulse intensities ranging from 62-86 dB and for interstimulus intervals ranging between 30-1000 ms. These behavioral data add to a growing body of knowledge about the genetic basis of sensorimotor gating deficits and suggest that low PPI rats have potential use as an intermediate phenotype in schizophrenia research. The stable phenotype of breeding-induced PPI-deficits and reduced startle habituation indicates that PPI has strong genetic determinants and that selectively bred rats can be used for future neurophysiological, anatomical, pharmacological, and genomic analyses.