Experimental Models to Study Autism Spectrum Disorders: hiPSCs, Rodents and Zebrafish

Genes (Basel). 2020 Nov 20;11(11):1376. doi: 10.3390/genes11111376.


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect around 1.5% of the global population, which manifest alterations in communication and socialization, as well as repetitive behaviors or restricted interests. ASD is a complex disorder with known environmental and genetic contributors; however, ASD etiology is far from being clear. In the past decades, many efforts have been put into developing new models to study ASD, both in vitro and in vivo. These models have a lot of potential to help to validate some of the previously associated risk factors to the development of the disorder, and to test new potential therapies that help to alleviate ASD symptoms. The present review is focused on the recent advances towards the generation of models for the study of ASD, which would be a useful tool to decipher the bases of the disorder, as well as to conduct drug screenings that hopefully lead to the identification of useful compounds to help patients deal with the symptoms of ASD.

Keywords: animal models; autism spectrum disorders (ASD); cellular models; genome editing; human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs); neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs); rodents; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / etiology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gene Editing / methods
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / physiology
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rodentia / genetics
  • Zebrafish / genetics