Pregnant mice injected with the immune protein interleukin-6 give birth to pups that are less social than normal, an effect that results from the over-activation of two pathways critical in neurodevelopment, researchers reported Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
The gene-environment interactions that are thought to contribute to many cases of autism can now be explored in a mouse model, according to a poster presented Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.
Infection early in pregnancy is more harmful to the fetus than at later stages, triggering brain and behavioral changes in the offspring similar to those seen in people with schizophrenia, according to two mouse studies published in October. A third study suggests that exercise can mitigate some of these effects.
Two new studies use medical records from countries with nationalized health care to link autoimmune disease and obesity in parents to the likelihood of having a child with autism.
Chemicals produced by their mother’s immune system in utero alter the size of several key brain regions in people with schizophrenia, enlarging chambers that store cerebrospinal fluids, and shrinking parts of the cortex involved in processing emotion and memory.
The Autism Birth Cohort, based on data from 100,000 Norwegian children and their families, aims to uncover genetic and environmental factors contributing to the disorder.
Babies born to rhesus monkeys infected with the flu virus during pregnancy have significantly smaller brains than normal, and other brain abnormalities seen in schizophrenia, researchers have found. The study, published last month in Biological Psychiatry, provides the first evidence in non-human primates linking flu infection to a higher risk of schizophrenia.