Background: Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIB, also known as Sanfilippo Syndrome B, is a devastating childhood disease. Unfortunately, there are currently no available treatments for MPS IIIB patients. Yet, animal models of lysosomal storage diseases have been valuable tools in identifying promising avenues of treatment. Enzyme replacement therapy, gene therapy, and bone marrow transplant have all shown efficacy in the MPS IIIB model systems. A ubiquitous finding across rodent models of lysosomal storage diseases is that the best treatment outcomes resulted from intervention prior to symptom onset. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to identify early markers of disease in the MPS IIIB mouse model as well as examine clinically-relevant behavioral domains not yet explored in this model. Methods: Using the MPS IIIB mouse model, we explored early developmental trajectories of communication and gait, and later social behavior, fear-related startle and conditioning, and visual capabilities. In addition, we examined brain structure and function via magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging. Results: We observed reduced maternal isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalizations in MPS IIIB mice relative to controls, as well as disruption in a number of the spectrotemporal features. MPS IIIB also exhibited disrupted thermoregulation during the first two postnatal weeks without any differences in body weight. The developmental trajectories of gait were largely normal. In early adulthood, we observed intact visual acuity and sociability yet a more submissive phenotype, increased aggressive behavior, and decreased social sniffing relative to controls. MPS IIIB mice showed greater inhibition of startle in response to a pretone with a decrease in overall startle response and reduced cued fear memory. MPS IIIB also weighed significantly more than controls throughout adulthood and showed larger whole brain volumes and normalized regional volumes with intact tissue integrity as measured with magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging, respectively. Conclusions: Together, these results indicate disease markers are present as early as the first two weeks postnatal in this model. Further, this model recapitulates social, sensory and fear-related clinical features. Our study using a mouse model of MPS IIIB provides essential baseline information that will be useful in future evaluations of potential treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalJournal of neurodevelopmental disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Aggression
  • Dominance
  • Fear conditioning
  • Gait
  • Lysosomal storage disorder
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis IIIB
  • Sanfilippo B
  • Startle response
  • Ultrasonic vocalization


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