The NMDA receptor is a highly regulated glutamate-gated cationic channel receptor that has an important role in the regulation of sociability and cognition. The genetically-inbred Balb/c mouse has altered endogenous tone of NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission and is a model of impaired sociability, relevant to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Because glycine is an obligatory co-agonist that works cooperatively with glutamate to promote opening of the ion channel, one prominent strategy to promote NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmission involves inhibition of the glycine type 1 transporter (GlyT1). The current study evaluated the dose-dependent effects of VU0410120, a selective, high-affinity competitive GlyT1 inhibitor, on measures of sociability, cognition and stereotypic behaviors in Balb/c and Swiss Webster mice. The data show that doses of VU0410120 (i.e., 18 and 30mg/kg) that improve measures of sociability and spatial working memory in the Balb/c mouse strain elicit intense stereotypic behaviors in the Swiss Webster comparator strain (i.e., burrowing and jumping). Furthermore, the data suggest that selective GlyT1 inhibition improves sociability and spatial working memory at doses that do not worsen or elicit stereotypic behaviors in a social situation in the Balb/c strain. However, the elicitation of stereotypic behaviors in the Swiss Webster comparator strain at therapeutically relevant doses of VU0410120 suggest that genetic factors (i.e., mouse strain differences) influence sensitivity to GlyT1-elicited stereotypic behaviors, and emergence of intense stereotypic behaviors may be dose-limiting side effects of this interventional strategy.
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