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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by deficits of social interaction and communication, as well as by repetitive interests and activities. However, atypical sensory behaviors are nowadays considered as a core aspect of ASD affecting 90 % of children and are observed well before the common symptoms. While much of autism research in animal models of ASDs has focused on the social and cognitive difficulties and their underlying mechanisms, the aim of this project is to investigate early life sensory dysfunction using a mouse model of ASD well characterized in our lab.

We have previously found atypical sensory reactivity during the first week of life. This deficit can be restored by pharmacological treatment with the neuropeptide Oxytocin. However, how this sensory circuitry is affected is unknown. The objectives of the project are to:
- Investigate the sensory circuitry from the periphery to central integration centers with focus on the facio-nasal sensory field, somatosensory cortex and preoptic area.
- Understand how oxytocin regulates early life sensory function.

o Methods
The project will use mouse ASD genetic model combined with neonatal behavioral testing, pharmacology and recording of cerebral activity in living neonate using electrophysiological and in vivo imaging techniques.

o Expected candidate profile
Highly motivated student with interest in the field of Autism and sensory information process.

contact: valery.matarazzo@inserm.fr

Please send a CV and your school transcripts

Review on the topic:

Muscatelli F, Desarménien MG, Matarazzo V and Grinevich V.

Oxytocin Signaling in the Early Life of Mammals: Link to Neurodevelopmental Disorders Associated with ASD. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. doi: 10.1007/7854_2017_16, 2017.

Contact
Valéry MATARAZZO
Professeur d'Université
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