Aberrant aggressive behavior in a mouse model of Angelman syndrome

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Angelman syndrome (AS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder due to the absence of the E3-ligase protein, UBE3A. Inappropriate social interactions, usually hyper-sociability, is a part of that syndrome. In addition, clinical surveys and case reports describe aggressive behavior in AS individuals as a severe difficulty for caretakers. A mouse model for AS recapitulates most of the human AS phenotypes. However, very few studies utilized this mouse model for investigating affiliative social behavior, and not even a single study examined aggressive behavior. Hence, the aim of the herein study was to examine affiliative and aggressive social behavior. For that, we utilized a battery of behavioral paradigms, and performed detailed analyses of these behaviors. AS mice exhibited a unique characteristic of reduced habituation towards a social stimulus in comparison to their wild-type (WT) littermates. However, overall there were no additional marked differences in affiliative social behavior. In contrast to the mild changes in affiliative behavior, there was a striking enhanced aggression in the AS mice compared to their WT littermates. The herein findings emphasize the use of AS mouse model in characterizing and measuring inappropriate aggressive behavior, and suggests these as tools for investigating therapeutic interventions aimed at attenuating aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, Grant No. 248/20 and a personal grant from the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Aggression
  • Angelman Syndrome/psychology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Social Behavior


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