Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been the focus of a great deal of research and clinical speculation. This intense interest relates to both the perplexing pathogenesis and devastating consequences of these disorders. One of the obstacles to understanding the pathogenesis of autism and its efficient treatment has been the paucity of animal models that could be used for hypotheses-driven mechanistic studies of abnormal brain and behavior development and for the pre-clinical testing novel pharmacological treatments. The present review provides a detailed analysis of a new animal model of ASD. This model utilizes neonatal Borna disease virus (BDV) infection of the rat brain as a unique experimental teratogen to study the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental damage. For more than a decade, studies of the BDV animal model have yielded much insight into the pathogenic processes of abnormal brain development and resulting autistic-like behavioral abnormalities in rats. The most recent experiments demonstrate the utility of the BDV model for studying the pathophysiological mechanisms of the gene-environment interaction that determines differential disease outcomes and variability in responses to treatments.
|Frontiers in bioscience : a journal and virtual library
|Published - Mar 1 2002
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)