Understanding autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders through experimental translational neurobehavioral models

Judith R. Homberg, Evan J. Kyzar, Michael Nguyen, William H. Norton, Julian Pittman, Manoj K. Poudel, Siddharth Gaikwad, Shun Nakamura, Mamiko Koshiba, Hideo Yamanouchi, Maria Luisa Scattoni, Jeremy F P Ullman, David M. Diamond, Aleksandra A. Kaluyeva, Matthew O. Parker, Victor M. Klimenko, Sergey A. Apryatin, Richard E. Brown, Cai Song, Raul R. GainetdinovIrving I. Gottesman, Allan V. Kalueff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are highly prevalent and severely debilitating brain illnesses caused by aberrant brain growth and development. Resulting in cognitive, social, motor, language and affective disabilities, common NDDs include autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability, communication/speech disorders, motor/tic disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Affecting neurogenesis, glia/neuronal proliferation and migration, synapse formation and myelination, aberrant neural development occurs over a substantial period of time. Genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors play a key role in NDD pathogenesis. Animal models are an indispensable tool to study NDDs. Paralleling clinical findings, we comprehensively evaluate various preclinical tests and models which target key (social, cognitive, motor) neurobehavioral domains of ASD and other common NDDs. Covering both traditional (rodent) and alternative NDD models, we outline the emerging areas of research and emphasize how preclinical models play a key role in gaining translational and mechanistic insights into NDDs and their therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-312
Number of pages21
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was coordinated by the International Stress and Behavior Society (ISBS) Task Force on Neurodevelopmental Disorders, chaired and coordinated by AVK as ISBS President. The authors have no conflict of interest. We thank Matthew Singer (University of Idaho, USA) and Dr. Ira Cohen (New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, USA) Noldus IT (Wageningen, Netherlands) for providing the mirror test, shoaling and human behavior tracking illustration for this manuscript. SN, MK and HY are supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS grants 25282221, 21200017, 25119509, 15K15404). This research is also supported by Guangdong Ocean University (AVK, CS), ZENEREI Research Center, St. Petersburg State University, Ural Federal University (Government of Russian Federation Act 211, contract 02-A03.21.0006; AVK), the Russian Science Foundation grant N4-50-00069 (RRG) and the Institute of Experimental Medicine RAS (VMK).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Experimental model
  • Model organism
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Preclinical study
  • Translational research


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