Evaluating Multisensory Processing in the Mouse Model: Clinical and Translational Implications
Siemann, Justin Kyle
NEUROSCIENCE Evaluating Multisensory Processing in the Mouse Model: Clinical and Translational Implications Justin Kyle Siemann Dissertation under the direction of Mark T. Wallace Multisensory integration is the synthesis of information from the different sensory systems. Numerous investigations have evaluated multisensory function in humans and in various animal models with these studies demonstrating significant neural, behavioral and perceptual benefits conferred under multisensory conditions. In addition, emerging studies have described atypical multisensory function in clinical populations such as those with autism spectrum disorder. While a variety of animal models have been used to assess multisensory processing, there were no current behavioral tasks available for the mouse model. Here, we demonstrate the first behavioral paradigm to assess and evaluate multisensory processing in the mouse, and which show similar behavioral benefits as compared to larger animal species. In addition, we then demonstrate the first characterization of atypical multisensory behavioral function in a mouse model associated with autism spectrum disorder. Lastly, we observed that depending on the type of behavioral task implemented, mice can demonstrate vastly different behavioral responses under these multisensory conditions. Overall, we describe a series of novel studies that examine and characterize multisensory behavioral function in the mouse model system with the belief that this work may provide opportunities for further insights into the underlying neural mechanisms of multisensory function in both typical development and in autism spectrum disorder.