Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Attentional abnormalities in autism: An electrophysiological study of the basal forebrain and central nucleus of the amygdala  

People with autism show specific deficits in some attentional tasks and better than normal performance in others. Attentional processing is carried out in the brain in large part by the basal forebrain cholinergic system, modulated by the amygdala. Both the basal forebrain and the amygdala have been shown to be atypical in autistic brains, with the central nucleus of the amygdala (CN) containing unusually small, densely packed neurons and the substantia inominata/nucleus basalis (SI/nBM) region of the basal forebrain containing exceedingly high levels of BDNF, a neurotrophic factor that is implicated in neuronal excitability. The aim of this project is to use an animal model to determine whether these known abnormalities of autistic brains can themselves mediate the atypical attentional patterns of behavior seen in autism. Neural recordings will be obtained in the SI/nBM and CN of rats during attentional tasks comparable to those impaired in autistics and that have been shown to be dependent upon function of the basal forebrain cholinergic system. Neural activity and behavior will be monitored after partial lesions of the CN and after infusion of high levels of BDNF into the SI/nBM. Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $60,000.00
Project Number 2012
Principal Investigator Chiba, Andrew
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective 2O. Not specific to Question 2 objectives
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of California, San Diego
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Attentional abnormalities in autism: An electrophysiological study of the basal forebrain and central nucleus of the amygdala (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Not available at this time. This functionality is experimental.