Prepulse inhibition

prepulse-inhibitionEvaluation of sensorimotor gating

A startle reflex in response to an intense acoustic stimulus is inhibited when a barely detectable pulse precedes the startle stimulus by 30-500 milliseconds. It has been theorized that this phenomenon, named prepulse inhibition (PPI) of a startle response, is an automatic early-stage gating process contributing to the ability to focus attention. Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders show deficits in PPI.

Autism-related gene affects prepulse inhibition

Pcdh9 is a cell adhesion gene that is associated with autism spectrum disorder. In collaboration with UMC Utrecht and other partners, we detected sensorimotor gating deficits in a Pcdh9 knockout mutant, in line with structural changes in deep layers of sensory cortices, where Pcdh9 is selectively expressed1.

A more detailed protocol for prepulse inhibition can be found here.

1Genetic Mapping in Mice Reveals the Involvement of Pcdh9 in Long-Term Social and Object Recognition and Sensorimotor Development. Bruining, Koopmans et al., Biol Psychiatry. 2015; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.01.017