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Abstract #2236

Aberrant striatal anatomy and gray matter connectivity networks in mice lacking autism-associated gene CNTNAP2.

Marco Pagani1,2, Alberto Galbusera1, and Alessandro Gozzi1

1Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Rovereto, Italy, 2CIMeC, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy

Mice lacking CNTNAP2 exhibit robust autism-like behavioral traits, including stereotyped behaviors and excessive self-grooming. By using high resolution morpho-anatomical imaging in CNTNAP2 mutant mice, we identified marked volumetric alterations subcortical substrates implicated in ASD motor stereotypy, with a prominent involvement of the dorsal striatum. Importantly, we also show that in mutant mice, striatal but not cortical regions, exhibit dramatically expanded gray matter network extension, encompassing aberrant trophic interaction between limbic, subcortical and prefrontal regions. The observed striatal volumetric and gray matter network abnormalities serve as a plausible morpho-anatomical substrate for some of the stereotypy exhibited by CNTNAP2 mutant mice.

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