This invention relates to a novel mouse model that permits temporal and spatial inactivation of the oxytocin receptor. Oxytocin is a neurohormone that has been associated with human diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. The use of animal models to study oxytocin disease progression has been invaluable. However, existing mouse models have been limited to knockouts which leads to early mortality.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) generated the conditional oxytocin receptor knockout mice using the Cre-loxP and FLP-FRT systems. The use of this system allows the oxytocin receptor to function normally early in development and selectively inactivated in brain regions after development has been complete. This approach allows teasing apart the functional and developmental roles of oxytocin, furthering our basic understanding of oxytocin's roles in brain function.
The mouse models allow conditional deactivation of the oxytocin receptor as oppose to simple knockouts.