, 206:677 | Cite as

Are DBA/2 mice associated with schizophrenia-like endophenotypes? A behavioural contrast with C57BL/6 mice

  • Philipp Singer
  • Joram Feldon
  • Benjamin K. YeeEmail author
Original Investigation



Due to its intrinsic deficiency in prepulse inhibition (PPI), the inbred DBA/2 mouse strain has been considered as an animal model for evaluating antipsychotic drugs. However, the PPI impairment observed in DBA/2 mice relative to the common C57BL/6 strain is confounded by a concomitant reduction in baseline startle reactivity. In this study, we examined the robustness of the PPI deficit when this confound is fully taken into account.

Materials and methods

Male DBA/2 and C57BL/6 mice were compared in a PPI experiment using multiple pulse stimulus intensities, allowing the possible matching of startle reactivity prior to examination of PPI. The known PPI-enhancing effect of the antipsychotic, clozapine, was then evaluated in half of the animals, whilst the other half was subjected to two additional schizophrenia-relevant behavioural tests: latent inhibition (LI) and locomotor reaction to the psychostimulants—amphetamine and phencyclidine.


PPI deficiency in DBA/2 relative to C57BL/6 mice was essentially independent of the strain difference in baseline startle reactivity. Yet, there was no evidence that DBA/2 mice were superior in detecting the PPI-facilitating effect of clozapine when startle difference was balanced. Compared with C57BL/6 mice, DBA/2 mice also showed impaired LI and a different temporal profile in their responses to amphetamine and phencyclidine.


Relative to the C57BL/6 strain, DBA/2 mice displayed multiple behavioural traits relevant to schizophrenia psycho- and physiopathology, indicative of both dopaminergic and glutamatergic/N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor dysfunctions. Further examination of their underlying neurobiological differences is therefore warranted in order to enhance the power of this specific inter-strain comparison as a model of schizophrenia.


Amphetamine Behavioural genetic Latent inhibition Mouse Phencyclidine Prepulse inhibition Schizophrenia 



The present study was supported by the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR): Neural Plasticity and Repair funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp Singer
    • 1
  • Joram Feldon
    • 1
  • Benjamin K. Yee
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Behavioural NeurobiologyFederal Institute of Technology ZurichSchwerzenbachSwitzerland

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