Mice Study

Research shows gene defect's role in autism-like behavior

Source: 
PLoS ONE
Date Published: 
August 13, 2012
Abstract: 

Scientists affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have discovered how a defective gene causes brain changes that lead to the atypical social behavior characteristic of autism. The research offers a potential target for drugs to treat the condition.

Molecular Mechanisms: Autism Gene Regulates Neuron Shape

Source: 
Simons Foundation Austism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
July 31,2012
Abstract: 

Scientists at MIT have found that TAOK2, a gene in the autism-associated chromosomal region, is part of a signaling pathway that builds neuronal connections during development.

Vanderbilt University Researchers Examine Oxytocin and Serotonin Systems as Biomarkers for Autism

Source: 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22721594.1
Date Published: 
May 26, 2012
Abstract: 

Vanderbilt University researchers examine oxytocin and serotonin systems as biomarkers for autism spectrum disorders.

Automated Imaging Inroduced To Greatly Speed Whole-Brain Mapping Efforts

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
January 17, 2012
Abstract: 

A new technology developed by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) transforms the way highly detailed anatomical images can be made of whole brains.

Absence of CNTNAP2 Leads to Epilepsy, Neuronal Migration Abnormalities, and Core Autism-Related Deficits

Source: 
Cell
Date Published: 
September 30, 2011
Year Published: 
2011

A new mouse model of autism, created by eliminating a gene strongly associated with the disorder in humans, shows promise for understanding the biology that underlies ASD and testing new treatments. By eliminating the CNTNAP2 gene (contactin associated protein-like 2), researchers were able to create mice with behaviors that closely mimicked those of its human counterparts – the mice exhibited repetitive behaviors, abnormal social interactions, and irregular vocalizations, in addition to experiencing seizures and hyperactivity. CNTNAP2 is thought to play an important role in the development of language, and variants of the gene have been linked to an increased risk of autism and epilepsy. Prior to experiencing seizures, the mice showed signs of abnormal brain circuit development – researchers observed irregularities in communication between neurons and their migration within the brain. These observations complement earlier studies suggesting that children with autism carrying a CNTNAP2 variant have a "disjointed brain." The frontal lobe is poorly connected with the rest of the brain but shows an overconnection with itself, resulting in poor communication with other brain regions. Notably, the mice in the study responded positively to risperidone, an antipsychotic medication approved by the FDA to treat symptoms of irritability and aggression associated with ASD. While their social interactions did not improve – risperidone has not been shown to improve social function in humans – there was a marked improvement in repetitive grooming and a decrease in hyperactivity. Creating an animal model of autism that closely resembles the symptoms and behaviors in humans may be an important tool in understanding neural development in autism and developing new treatments.

--IACC 2011 Summary of Advances in ASD Research

MIT Researchers Recreate Autism in Mice

Source: 
Medical News Today
Date Published: 
March 20, 2011
Abstract: 

By mutating a single gene, researchers at MIT and Duke have produced mice with two of the most common traits of autism - compulsive, repetitive behavior and avoidance of social interaction. In this study, the researchers focused on one of the most common of those genes, known as shank3. Shank3 is found in synapses - the junctions between brain cells that allow them to communicate with each other. Feng, who joined MIT and the McGovern Institute last year, began studying shank3 a few years ago because he thought that synaptic proteins might contribute to autism and similar brain disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder.

Gene Mutation is Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice, Reseachers Find

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 24, 2010
Abstract: 

When a gene implicated in human autism is disabled in mice, the rodents show learning problems and obsessive, repetitive behaviors, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The researchers also report that a drug affecting a specific type of nerve function reduced the obsessive behavior in the animals, suggesting a potential way to treat repetitive behaviors in humans