Date Published: December 30, 2009
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Rebecca G. Smith, Rachel L. Kember, Jonathan Mill, Cathy Fernandes, Leonard C. Schalkwyk, Joseph D. Buxbaum, Abraham Reichenberg, Kenji Hashimoto. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008456
Abstract: Accumulating evidence from epidemiological research has demonstrated an association between advanced paternal age and risk for several psychiatric disorders including autism, schizophrenia and early-onset bipolar disorder. In order to establish causality, this study used an animal model to investigate the effects of advanced paternal age on behavioural deficits in the offspring.
Partial Text: Accumulating evidence from epidemiological research has demonstrated an association between advanced paternal age and risk for several psychiatric disorders including autism , schizophrenia  and early-onset bipolar disorder . Despite the methodological advantages of epidemiological research, a major limitation is that techniques are limited to observation. In order to establish causality, experimental evidence in the form of randomized-controlled trials or the development of animal models is required . Animal models are particularly important as they allow environmental and genetic confounds to be controlled.
Using a mouse model we documented deleterious effects of advancing paternal age on offspring behavior. Male offspring of older fathers engaged in less social behavior and exhibited less exploration in a novel environment. These effects were not confounded by differences in overall locomotor activity. Abnormalities in social behavior characterize psychiatric disorders previously linked to advancing paternal age, suggesting a common phenotype affected by paternal age.