The rising importance of the periphery for regulating centrally mediated social behaviors

Deficits in social behaviors, including delayed onset and decreased intensity in play, and classification by peers as less socially desirable are observed in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, early-onset schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, social withdrawal is observed in people diagnosed with major depression and persons diagnosed with personality disorder display abnormalities in social cognition. Despite the neurobiological underpinnings of these disorders and the central mediation of social behaviors, several recent studies suggest that some of the deficits in social behaviors that are observed in animal models of psychiatric illness may begin outside of the brain and involve altered communication between peripheral and central systems.

social behaviors
social behaviors

Disruption of Mecp2, an X-linked methyl-CpG-binding protein, is found in patients with Rett syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Disruptions of Mecp2 have generated several mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders that recapitulate several aspects of these diseases, including the social deficits.

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