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Study of post-puberal social behaviors in males and females coming from maternal hypothyroidism: link for neurodevelopmental aspects in autism-related conditions?

Grant number: 13/14466-1
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2013 - November 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine
Principal Investigator:Carlos Alberto Avellaneda Penatti
Grantee:Carlos Alberto Avellaneda Penatti
Host Institution: Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE). Campus Vergueiro. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Gisele Giannocco


Maternal thyroid dysfunction and its most common condition, maternal hypothyroidism, may facilitate fetal neurodevelopmental disarrangements, which share similarities to some of the cognitive and behavior alterations manifested in the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In particular, fetal deficits in cortical migration, neuronal fate and maturation and cognitive underdevelopment in early life represent major findings in these medical and behavioral conditions. To date, however, there are few studies, which approach in detail the many aspects in communication and sociability of the post-adolescence individuals and regarding their sex differences subjected to maternal hypothyroidism during pregnancy. Using an animal model of maternal hypothyroidism, we will investigate the social behaviors of the offspring after puberty in both males and females to better characterize major aspects of behavior development and their sex dependence in this endocrine but also neurodevelopmental abnormal state. Our study will show how important animal behaviors such as offensive and defensive aggression, social vocalization, fear and anxiety linked to autonomic regulation (i.e.; temperature; body heat control) are determined. These ethological findings will also allow further correlations with and may foster medical and psychological advances in children's neurodevelopment among the ASD individuals even to encompass their discrete but prevalent social shortcomings. (AU)

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