Behavioral fragmentation in the D1CT-7 mouse model of Tourette's syndrome.

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The transgenic D1CT-7 mouse is one of the best-characterized animal models of Tourette's syndrome (TS), exhibiting spontaneous tic-like Head-Body Twitches (HBT) and deficits in sensorimotor gating. This study is aimed at evaluating the behavioral dynamics of these mutants and their potential relevance to TS.


The behavior of D1CT-7 and Wild Type littermates was firstly assessed by considering frequencies and durations. To detect recurrent real-time behavioral sequences, the multivariate T-pattern analysis was employed. Analyses of transition probabilities among behaviors further provided an overall picture of the behavioral dynamics.


T-patterns and transition matrices revealed in D1CT-7 mice a clear-cut hyperactivity compared to controls, with a lower behavioral organization and a marked shift from cautious sniffing toward locomotion. Moreover, the behavioral patterns of the transgenic mice were pervasively disturbed by intrusive tic-like HBT leading to a marked fragmentation of the behavior. Novel exposure to open field provoked a transient inhibitory control over the disrupting phenotype.


The results of this study show that the D1CT-7 mouse model is subjected to a behavioral fragmentation, with repercussions going beyond the simple tic-like phenomenon. These phenotypes are strikingly akin to behavioral problems observed in patients with TS and further validate the power of this model in summarizing pivotal behavioral aspects of TS.

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