A new rat model for vulnerability to epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders


Address correspondence to Krista L. Gilby, Ph.D., Institute of Neuroscience, Life Sciences Research Center, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Canada. E-mail: krista_gilby@carleton.ca


Tremendous concern has arisen in response to the recent diagnostic outbreak of childhood developmental disorders, particularly involving attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Interestingly, similarities in clinical presentation across these disorders may suggest common predisposing factors. For instance, though not widely recognized, an increased predisposition toward seizure is a symptom that is very often associated with ADHD and ASD. Accordingly, a rat strain naturally bred to be seizure-prone simultaneously developed behavioral and physical characteristics analogous to those observed in ADHD/ASD patients. These rats also show early signs of aberrant lipid handling, which is another symptom common to human patients with these disorders. As such, this rat strain could serve as an excellent model system through which to identify common pathophysiological events that constitute aspectrum of vulnerabilitytoward ADHD/ASD and epilepsy.