Some cases of autism may result from glitches in immune cells in the blood: This provocative idea stems from a series of unpublished mouse studies presented yesterday at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Brains from people with autism have more support cells called glia and fewer neurons than do control brains, suggests a study published 10 January in Molecular Autism.
By matching the genes expressed in particular cell types with those linked to a disorder, researchers may be able to identify the cell types implicated in the disorder, they report in a study published 22 January in the Journal of Neuroscience. They use this method to link interneurons and immune cells to autism.
A temporary shortage of microglia — immune cells in the brain that prune unnecessary neural connections — in infancy can have long-lasting effects on brain circuits and behavior, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience on 2 February.
Bone marrow transplants, which have been shown to arrest symptoms of Rett syndrome in young mice, have little effect on older mice, according to preliminary results presented Monday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. The findings suggest that this approach may not be a viable treatment for those who already have symptoms of the disorder.
Two new studies bolster the emerging idea that microglia, cells that were long dismissed as passive soldiers of the brain’s immune system, are in fact actively involved in shoring up connections between neurons. The unpublished work was presented Sunday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
People with autism and those with duplications of the 15q11-13 chromosomal region share a distinctive pattern of gene expression in the brain, according to unpublished research presented Friday at the Dup15q Alliance Scientific Meeting in Sacramento, California.
Mounting evidence finds abnormally high levels of immune cells in the brains of people with autism. But how do we separate cause from effect?
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.