Exp Neurobiol.  2018 Oct;27(5):321-343. 10.5607/en.2018.27.5.321.

Sex-specific Behavioral Features of Rodent Models of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • 1Center for Neuroscience, Korea Institute of Science & Technology, Seoul 02792, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pharmacology and Advanced Translational Medicine, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea. chanyshin@kku.ac.kr
  • 3Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Center for Neuroscience Research, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea.
  • 4KU Open Innovation Center, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea.


Sex is an important factor in understanding the clinical presentation, management, and developmental trajectory of children with neuropsychiatric disorders. While much is known about the clinical and neurobehavioral profiles of males with neuropsychiatric disorders, surprisingly little is known about females in this respect. Animal models may provide detailed mechanistic information about sex differences in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in terms of manifestation, disease progression, and development of therapeutic options. This review aims to widen our understanding of the role of sex in autism spectrum disorder, by summarizing and comparing behavioral characteristics of animal models. Our current understanding of how differences emerge in boys and girls with neuropsychiatric disorders is limited: Information derived from animal studies will stimulate future research on the role of biological maturation rates, sex hormones, sex-selective protective (or aggravating) factors and psychosocial factors, which are essential to devise sex precision medicine and to improve diagnostic accuracy. Moreover, there is a strong need of novel strategies to elucidate the major mechanisms leading to sex-specific autism features, as well as novel models or methods to examine these sex differences.


Sex difference; Autism spectrum disorder; Animal model; Behavior

MeSH Terms

Autism Spectrum Disorder*
Autistic Disorder*
Disease Progression
Gonadal Steroid Hormones
Models, Animal
Precision Medicine
Sex Characteristics
Gonadal Steroid Hormones
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