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

Neural correlates of serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and social impairment in ASD  

A core symptom of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is social impairment. A genetic variation has been identified, which is associated with the symptom of social impairment, called the S allele of the serotonin transporter-linked promoter region. People who have one or two copies of the S allele in their genome tend to have increased social impairment compared to those who have other genotypes. Neurologically, social deficits are thought to be related to overactivity of neurons in specific brain regions, the amygdala and the ventral prefrontal cortex (vPFC). In this study, Dr. Monk and colleagues will examine the connection between the S allele and neural activity in the amygdala and vPFC and how these factors contribute to social impairment. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a method of visualizing neural activity in specific brain regions, they will examine the amygdala and pVFC in subjects while they perform a social task, such as recognizing emotions in facial expressions. The subjects will be chosen from four groups: autistics with two copies of the S allele or no copies of the S allele and typical, non-autistic individuals with two copies of the S allele or no copies of the S allele. This experiment will allow the researchers to determine whether this genetic variant is associated with overactivity in the amygdala and pVFC and how this relates to the severity of social impairment in both autistics and non-autistics. Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $0.00
Project Number 2573
Principal Investigator Monk, Christopher
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective New! Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 2SG. Support five studies that associate specific genotypes with functional or structural phenotypes, including behavioral and medical phenotypes (e.g., nonverbal individuals with ASD and those with cognitive impairments) by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $22,600,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of Michigan
State/Country Michigan
Web Link 1 Neural correlates of serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and social impairment in ASD (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Neural correlates of serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and social impairment in ASD | $92,811.00 | 2010 | 2573
Neural correlates of serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and social impairment in ASD | $150,000.00 | 2008 | 2573