Of nine genetic models examined in a new study, all had some incidence of cardiac abnormalities. But the problems varied widely depending on the affected genes.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
The loss of CHD8, a top autism gene, speeds up the production of certain neurons and leads to overgrowth in spheres of cultured brain cells.
Mutations in all three accelerate the maturation of inhibitory neurons, which could upset the brain’s balance of excitation and inhibition early in development.
Over the past century, scientists have used a variety of animal models to advance their understanding of the developing brain and autism.
Mounting evidence suggests that autism often involves upsets in homeostatic plasticity, a set of processes neurons use to stabilize their activity. These disruptions result from a range of autism-linked mutations and may help to explain the condition’s famed heterogeneity.
Problems with falling and staying asleep are common in autism, and they may be due in part to leaks in the blood-brain barrier, according to a new study in fruit flies.
Deleting CHD8 from the intestines induces gastrointestinal and behavioral changes in mice that resemble traits in people with mutations in the gene.
Anyone who uses multiple animals from a small number of litters to increase sample size is making a serious mistake. The similarities within individual litters will heavily skew the results.
Deleting the autism-linked gene CHD8 from specific cells in the cerebellum, a brain region important for movement, leads to motor deficits but does not alter social behaviors in mice.