Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) imitate observed behavior less than age-matched and typically developing peers, resulting in deterred learning ability and social interaction. However, this deficit lacks preclinical assessment tools. A previous study has shown that mice exhibit contagious itch behavior while viewing a scratching demonstrator mouse, as opposed to an ambulating demonstrator mouse, but whether autism mouse models imitate observed scratching behavior remains unknown. Here, we investigated contagious itch behavior in the mouse model of fragile X syndrome (FXS), a common form of inherited intellectual disabilities with a high risk for ASDs. We found that the mouse model of FXS shows deficits in contagious itch behavior. Our findings can be used as a new preclinical assessment tool for measuring imitative deficits in the study of neurodevelopmental disorders including FXS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas