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

Influence of maternal cytokines on activation of the innate immune system as a factor in the development of autism  

Clinical and basic studies indicate a role for the immune system in autism. One idea is that a maternal immune response during pregnancy can influence embryonic development in such a way as to increase autism risk. Dr. Ponzio's research team has studied this possibility in mice, with a focus on the effect of cytokines on prenatal development. Cytokines are immune system compounds that signal other immune cells to the site of infection. Dr. Ponzio's research found that when one type of cytokine called interleukin-2 (IL-2) was injected into pregnant mice, their offspring had altered immune profiles and behavioral abnormalities that might be related to autism. The study will test whether IL-2 injections in pregnant mice results in offspring with nervous system inflammation, similar to that sometimes found in autism. Brains of the offspring of IL-2-injected pregnant mice will be inspected for microglia, which produce neural inflammatory responses and thus can be used as markers for neuroinflammation. The fellow will further investigate lasting effects of these IL-2 injections on the innate immune systems of offspring by measuring the activated cells, such as natural killer cells and antigen presenting cells. These measures will be compared to offspring of saline-injected control mice. Project Status
ONGOING

2009

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $0.00
Project Number 2233
Principal Investigator Ponzio, Nicholas
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Risk Factors)
Strategic Plan Objective New! Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3SE. Support at least two studies to determine if there are subpopulations that are more susceptible to environmental exposures (e.g., immune challenges related to infections, vaccinations, or underlying autoimmune problems) by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $8,000,000 over 2 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
State/Country New Jersey
Web Link 1 Influence of maternal cytokines on activation of the innate immune system as a factor in the development of autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Influence of maternal cytokines on activation of the innate immune system as a factor in the development of autism | $24,000.00 | 2010 | 2233
Influence of maternal cytokines on activation of the innate immune system as a factor in the development of autism | $32,000.00 | 2008 | 2233