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

Immune molecules and cortical synaptogenesis: Possible implications for the pathogenesis of autism  

Although there is clearly a strong genetic component to autism, its incidence also appears to be influenced by a wide range of environmental factors. Many of these factors have in common the ability to alter immune function. Since major histocompatibility complex (MHCI) molecules are proteins that mediate the immune response and that are also present on neurons, it is possible that changes in expression of MHCI in the developing brain lead to the cellular changes that contribute to autism. Recently, Dr. McAllister's lab has discovered that MHCI molecules negatively regulate the initial formation of connections in the developing brain. This result is particularly exciting because it implies that environmental factors that initiate an immune response could dramatically affect connectivity in the developing brain and thereby alter cognition. Since cytokines potently regulate MHCI expression in the immune system and several cytokines have been found to be upregulated in the brains of autistic children, it is possible that these cytokines alter synaptic connectivity in the developing brain by altering MHCI levels. Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $127,500.00
Project Number 1774
Principal Investigator McAllister, A. Kimberley
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 2SA. Support at least four research projects to identify mechanisms of metabolic and/or immune system interactions with the central nervous system that may underlie the development of ASD during prenatal-postnatal life by 2010. IACC Funding Budget: $9,800,000 over 4 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of California, Davis
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Immune molecules and cortical synaptogenesis: Possible implications for the pathogenesis of autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Immune molecules and cortical synaptogenesis: Possible implications for the pathogenesis of autism | $0.00 | 2010 | 1774
Immune molecules and cortical synaptogenesis: Possible implications for the pathogenesis of autism | $150,000.00 | 2008 | 1774