Spontaneous stereotypy in an animal model of Down syndrome: Ts65Dn mice

Behav Genet. 2001 Jul;31(4):393-400. doi: 10.1023/a:1012226603255.


Stereotyped behaviors (e.g., body rocking) occur at high rates in individuals with mental retardation (e.g., Down syndrome). To determine if spontaneous stereotypy occurs in a murine model of Down syndrome, the home cage behavior of Ts65Dn and control mice was monitored during the dark cycle. Motor activity was further assessed in novel automated test chambers, with acoustic startle and rotor rod paradigms providing additional environmental challenges. Spontaneous stereotypy (repetitive jumping and cage top twirling) was observed in the home cage in approximately half of the Ts65Dn mice, compared with approximately 10% of diploid controls. Repetitive jumping was observed exclusively in the Ts65Dn mice. In the open field, although no differences were found between Ts65Dn and control mice, stereotypic Ts65Dn mice exhibited significantly less locomotor activity and rearing relative to control and nonstereotypic Ts65Dn mice. Ts65Dn mice attained significantly lower rotor rod speeds but did not differ from controls in the amplitude of the acoustic startle response. These environmental challenges did not increase stereotypy over home cage rates but induced stereotypy in two additional animals. The Ts65Dn model may aid in identifying genes associated with the development and expression of stereotypy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Down Syndrome / psychology
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Reflex, Startle / physiology
  • Stereotyped Behavior / physiology*
  • Trisomy