A new paper accomplishes a rare feat, linking human genetics with physiology, behavior and a therapeutic in a compelling mouse model of autism, says Alan Packer.
Electrical signals generated by dendrites, the branches of neurons that receive information from neighboring cells, may help neurons tune their responses to stimuli, according to a study published 7 November in Nature.
Studies at the level of neural circuits are needed to better understand the importance of both increased and decreased connectivity between different regions in the autism brain, say John Rubenstein and Vikaas Sohal.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science is mapping the complex projections of neurons throughout the mouse brain. They presented results from the first 1,400 brains on Tuesday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Depleting excess levels of a molecule involved in neuronal signaling prevents the cognitive and motor symptoms of Angelman syndrome in a mouse model of the disorder, according to a report published 15 August in Cell Reports.
The autism-linked protein MET is expressed at the junctions between neurons during early brain development in mice, suggesting that it helps establish the connections, according to a study published 21 June in The Journal of Comparative Neurology.
Emerging evidence indicates that microglia, the brain’s immune cells, are altered in some individuals with autism, raising questions about their role in brain development, says Beth Stevens.
New techniques to scan the brain can produce exquisitely detailed views of white matter, which contains the long cellular fibers that connect neurons. Many of the advances are emerging from the Human Connectome Project, a five-year push to map the brain’s wiring.