2019 Volume 68 Issue 3 Pages 319-330
The BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mouse strain is a widely used model of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The BTBR mice display behavior consistent with the three diagnostic categories of ASD. However, the behavioral phenotypes of the BTBR mice in a long-term group housing setting are largely unknown because conventional behavioral tests for ASD model mice are designed for use under simplified artificial conditions over a short observation period. In this study, we applied a newly developed assay system, the Multiple Animal Positioning System (MAPS), to quantify behaviors under group housing conditions over four days of continuous observation. Using MAPS, we showed that in a group housing condition, the BTBR mice exhibited lower activity levels in the dark phase and alteration of social behavior in comparison with the C57BL/6J mice. The phenotypes of the BTBR mice were affected by co-housing with the C57BL/6J mice for four days, but the influence was weak and limited. Our results by MAPS differ from those obtained using conventional behavioral tests. The present study demonstrated that MAPS would be useful for evaluating the usual/natural behaviors of various animal models in detail and under more ethological conditions.