An altered immune system can cause autism-like behaviors, suggests a study published 31 July in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that a bone marrow transplant, which restores the animals’ immune system, alleviates their anxiety and repetitive behavior.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.
Lowering blood levels of the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the chemical messenger serotonin, changes how the autism brain responds to emotions, according to a report published 4 June in PLoS One.
Researchers are beginning to tease apart how dosage of genes within the 15q11-13 chromosomal region contributes to autism symptoms.
The autism-associated gene RBFOX1 modifies the sequence of hundreds of genetic messages, a number of which affect the expression of other autism-linked genes, according to a study published 7 July in Human Molecular Genetics.
Motor neurons derived from individuals with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, a rare autism-related disorder, form abnormal connections with muscle cells. The unpublished research was presented 26 July at a meeting of the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation in Orlando.
Losing one or both copies of TSC1, one of the two genes responsible for tuberous sclerosis complex, in specific cells of the cerebellum can trigger several autism-like behaviors in mice, according to research published 1 July in Nature.
Studying tuberous sclerosis provides researchers with a unique opportunity to find a common pathway among the various genetic causes of autism, says neurologist Mustafa Sahin.