Longitudinal neuroanatomical and behavioral analyses show phenotypic drift and variability in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome [RESEARCH ARTICLE]
Mouse models of Down syndrome (DS) have been invaluable tools for advancing knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of intellectual disability in people with DS. The Ts(1716)65Dn (Ts65Dn) mouse is one of the most commonly used models as it recapitulates many of the phenotypes seen in individuals with DS, including neuroanatomical changes and impaired learning and memory. In this study, we use rigorous metrics to evaluate multiple cohorts of Ts65Dn ranging from 2014 to the present, including a stock of animals recovered from embryos frozen within ten generations after the colony was first created in 2010. Through quantification of prenatal and postnatal brain development and several behavioral tasks, our results provide a comprehensive comparison of Ts65Dn across time and show a significant amount of variability both across cohorts as well as within cohorts. The inconsistent phenotypes in Ts65Dn mice highlight specific cautions and caveats for use of this model. We outline important steps for ensuring responsible use of Ts65Dn in future research.