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Title: Differences in Inter-Individual Neural Synchronization and Social Behavior in a Mouse Model of Autism
Authors: Tao, Lawrence
Advisors: Buschman, Timothy J
Department: Neuroscience
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2019
Abstract: Classic studies of social behavior primarily focus on the neural mechanisms mediating one individual’s behavioral processes. However, increasing evidence suggests that brain to brain coupling mechanisms play a role in social behavior as well. Nevertheless, much remains unknown about the neural substrates involved in this coupling and whether there is an association between disruptions in inter-individual brain synchronization and behavioral pathologies. The present study attempts to further our understanding by leveraging a valproic acid (VPA) mouse model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to investigate the relationship between social behavior and inter-individual neural synchronization in the neocortex. To this end, we used a paired mesoscale imaging paradigm to simultaneously capture population-level cortical neural activity during interactions between pairs of awake, head-fixed mice. To explore the relationship between neural activity and behavior, we captured social behavior immediately post-imaging using a paired sociability assay. Significantly, we found that in utero VPA exposure disrupted the number of social interactions and inter-individual neural synchronization between paired mice. Additionally, we found that the number of social interactions as well as inter-individual neural synchronization between paired mice were influenced by the time paired together. Separately, we also noted that the sex affected the duration of social interactions --- opposite sex pairings interacted for a longer duration. Taken together, this study provides preliminary evidence that inter-individual neural synchronization may be an important mediator of social behavior. Moreover, this study suggests that disruptions in inter-individual neural synchronization could be implicated in behavioral pathologies such as ASD.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Neuroscience, 2017-2022
Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022

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