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

Stereological analyses of neuron numbers in frontal cortex from age 3 years to adulthood in autism  

Recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies suggest that the brain of a toddler with autism grows at an excessive rate, leaving the child with an enlarged brain volume relative to typically-developing toddlers. One hypothesis to account for the enlargement is that the autistic brain has an excessive number of neurons. However, following the overgrowth phase, there is also evidence of a premature growth arrest in frontal lobes. Thus, there is the intriguing possibility that while there are an excessive number of neurons in autism during early childhood in the frontal cortex, this phase is followed by a decline in numbers beginning by preadolescence. The proposed study will test this hypothesis by carrying out a systematic stereological examination of the number of neurons in the entire frontal cortex as well as five well-defined frontal regions in 16 autistic and 16 control cases ages 2 years to 45 years, examining both group differences and age related changes in neuron number. In addition, since autism cases included in the study will have met Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised (ADI-R) criteria, the investigators will carry out biostatistical analyses of the relationship between neuron numbers, clinical phenotypic information (from the ADI-R), and postmortem variables of interest (e.g., cause of death, post-mortem interval). Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $0.00
Project Number 2111
Principal Investigator Courchesne, Eric
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 Stereological analyses of neuron numbers in frontal cortex from age 3 years to adulthood in autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Stereological analyses of neuron numbers in frontal cortex from age 3 years to adulthood in autism | $127,422.00 | 2010 | 2111
Stereological analyses of neuron numbers in frontal cortex from age 3 years to adulthood in autism | $150,000.00 | 2008 | 2111