An investigation of the 5-methoxytriptamine and the valproic acid rat models of autism

Berenice Garcia, University of Texas at El Paso


Autism is a severe pervasive development disorder with primary symptoms of impairment in communication, imagination, social relatedness, and interests, thoughts, and behaviors that are repetitive, restrictive, and stereotyped. Animal models of autism exist but they have not been compared with identical behavioral tests and as such cannot be evaluated to determine the animal model with the best apparent fit. As such, the present research was designed to compare the 5-methoxytryptamine (5-MT) and valproic acid rat models of autism. This study was unable to replicate the valproic acid rat model of autism since four of the rats injected with valproic acid died before giving birth and the other one did not give birth, although it was pregnant before the valproic acid injection. For this reason, comparisons to the 5-MT model were impossible. Results showed that rats treated with 5-MT showed decreased activity when a tone was introduced (auditory responsiveness). However, motor disturbances (as measured by negative geotaxis), ritualistic behavior (as measure by spontaneous alternations), tactile responsive (as measure by stroking the vibrissa), and a deficit in or an excess of emotional attachment (as measure by time to siblings and mother tests) were not found in 5-MT treated rats. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Psychobiology|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Garcia, Berenice, "An investigation of the 5-methoxytriptamine and the valproic acid rat models of autism" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAIEP10782.