Behavioral and neuroanatomical approaches in models of neurodevelopmental disorders: opportunities for translation


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewThis review highlights the invaluable contribution of in-vivo rodent models in dissecting the underlying neurobiology for numerous neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, models are routinely generated with precision genomics and characterized for research on neurodevelopmental disorders. In order to impact translation, outcome measures that are translationally relevant are essential. This review emphasizes the importance of accurate neurobehavioral and anatomical analyses.Recent findingsNumerous well validated assays for testing alterations across behavioral domains with sensitivity and throughput have become important tools for studying the effects of genetic mutations on neurodevelopment. Recent work has highlighted relationships and links between behavioral outcomes and various anatomical metrics from neuroimaging via magnetic resonance. These readouts are biological markers and outcome measures for translational research and will be have important roles for genetic or pharmacologic intervention strategies.SummaryCombinatorial approaches that leverage translationally relevant behavior and neuroanatomy can be used to develop a platform for assessment of cutting edge preclinical models. Reliable, robust behavioral phenotypes in preclinical model systems, with clustering of brain disease will lead to well informed, precise biochemical mechanistic hypotheses. Ultimately, these steadfast workhorse techniques will accelerate the progress of developing and testing targeted treatments for multiple neurodevelopmental disorders.

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