Presentation Abstract

Program#/Poster#: 866.11/LLL5
Presentation Title: Heterogeneity in social behavior and relation to associative learning in BXD recombinant inbred mice
Location: Halls B-H
Presentation time: Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Topic: ++F.03.l. Motivation and emotions: Social communication
1Cell and Neurobio., USC, Los Angeles, CA; 2Psychology, Florida Intl. Univ., Miami, FL; 3Human Develop. and Quantitative Methodology, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD
Abstract: Social behavior is highly complex and diverse across species, exhibiting remarkable heterogeneity even within individual species. In humans, heterogeneity in social behavior is apparent in both typically-developing children and in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. Genetic influences have been ascribed to some neurodevelopmental disorders, but the genetic mechanisms that underlie heterogeneity in social behavior in typically-developing populations and that build social repertoires are not well-defined. Contingent social interaction is essential for the development of adaptive social behaviors. In this context, we and others have suggested that associative learning may serve as an essential building block for social development. Consistent with this hypothesis, our studies in typically-developing 1-month-old human infants revealed that the rate of associative learning in a classical eyeblink conditioning paradigm is heterogeneous, and moreover, is significantly correlated with the quality of social development in the first two years of life. To determine if this relation is a conserved component of social behavior across species, we examined the relation between associative learning and social behavior in the BXD recombinant inbred mouse panel. This panel of mice comprises ~80 lines generated from progressive C57Bl/6 and DBA/2 (B x D) matings and shows continuous variation in several forms of associative learning. We selected 13 BXD lines, including the parental lines and F1 cross, representing the upper and lower tertiles of associative fear learning reported in Brigman et al., (2009). We also included the BTBR T+tf line, which shows impaired conditioned fear expression and decreased sociability, as a comparison group. We examined social behavior in the 3-chamber social interaction task and in a direct social interaction task with synchronous ultrasonic vocalization (USV) recording. Associative learning ability was confirmed in an auditory-cued fear conditioning task. There was continuous variation across lines in 1) social approach and social novelty preference in the 3-chamber social interaction task, 2) face, anogenital and whole-body sniffing and USV counts in the direct social interaction task, and 3) associative fear learning. Measures of sociability were positively correlated across tasks and were related to associative learning ability. These findings support the idea of a developmental relationship between associative learning and social behavior and provide strong rationale for future quantitative trait loci mapping studies of sociability and a “learning-social behavior” relation in the BXD population.
Disclosures:  A.T. Knoll: None. S. Choi: None. B. Reeb-Sutherland: None. N.A. Fox: None. P. Levitt: None.
Support: NIH Grant MH080759
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