Schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Autism

Although Schizophrenia, ADHD and Autism are classified as different psychiatric disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), recent research has revealed common genetic roots that may lead to shared symptoms among these psychiatric disorders 1.

To mimic comparable symptoms in animals, scientists have developed pharmacological and genetic approaches that have led to a focus on objective physiological/ behavioral parameters. If such parameters are studied simultaneously, the information gathered would likely offer better insight into the disease progression and of a successful pharmacological treatment.


Shared symptoms/parameters include:

  • Hyperactivity: these animals display an enhanced locomotor activity level that can be studied through changes in diurnal activity patterns or changes in sleep patterns 2 (Sleep).

  • Changes in social interaction and aggression: models typically display reduced social interaction with increased aggression, along with altered EEG and Cardiovascular pattern levels (Social housing solution).

  • Increased EEG frequency in gamma bands 3: such changes can be easily detected by DSI systems and later analyses through Neuroscore software.

  • Behavioral impairment and increased arousal state: the correlation between behavior and physiology can be assessed with high temporal resolution through the Ponemah software that offers real time analysis of the data (e.g. heart rate) linked with video acquisition (Video). The videos are compatible with behavioral software for a more detailed behavioral analysis.


Selected Publications

1 Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics, C. Identification of risk loci with shared effects on five major psychiatric disorders: a genome-wide analysis. Lancet 381, 1371-1379, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62129-1 (2013).

2 Ahnaou, A., Ver Donck, L. & Drinkenburg, W. H. Blockade of the metabotropic glutamate (mGluR2) modulates arousal through vigilance states transitions: evidence from sleep-wake EEG in rodents. Behav Brain Res 270, 56-67, doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.003 (2014).

3 Uhlhaas, P. J. & Singer, W. Abnormal neural oscillations and synchrony in schizophrenia. Nat Rev Neurosci 11, 100-113, doi:10.1038/nrn2774 (2010).