Researchers have taken skin cells from individuals with schizophrenia, bathed them in chemical cocktails and coaxed them to develop into neurons, according to a paper published 13 April in Nature.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.
Exosomes, the brain’s system for delivering and recycling molecules, can be manipulated to carry therapeutic fragments of RNA or DNA across the blood-brain barrier and into neurons. The ingenious new technique was published 20 March in Nature Biotechnology.
A gene that regulates the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the brain could help explain why males are more susceptible to autism than are females, according to a study published in PLoS One in February.
Neuroligin-4, a protein associated with autism, is located at synapses — the junctions between neurons — that inhibit signals in the brain, according to a study published in February in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The protein can also single-handedly induce neurons derived from human stem cells to form synapses, according to another study in the same issue.
The first study to look at mitochondria — the powerhouses of the cell — in postmortem brain tissue taken from children with autism has found significant abnormalities in their function in some regions of the brain.