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

Is autism a mitochondrial disease?  

Recent studies have suggested that autism may be associated with perturbations in cellular energy metabolism. The brain is a highly energy-dependent tissue and is very sensitive to changes in energy metabolism. The underlying cause of the changes in energy metabolism seen in autism is not known; however, it is hypothesized that it involves a dysfunction in mitochondria, the cellular structures which are responsible for metabolizing nutrients to energy that can be used by the cell. Dr. Giulivi and colleagues will test the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with altered expression of the gene PTEN. This gene has been connected to autism-like symptoms and neurodevelopmental disorders and may also be involved in mitochondrial function. In the present study, mitochondria will be systematically examined in mice engineered to lack the PTEN gene. This research will clarify the aspects of mitochondrial function and energy metabolism which are disrupted in the absence of this gene. Project Status


Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $60,000.00
Current Award Period 2008-2010
Project Number 2344
Principal Investigator Giulivi, Cecilia
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Subcategory Immune/Metabolic Pathways
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 fever, metabolic and/or immune system interactions with the central nervous system that may influence ASD during prenatal-postnatal life by 2010. IACC Recommended Budget: $9,800,000 over 4 years. (Fever studies to be started by 2012.)
Federal or Private? Private
Institution University of California, Davis
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Is autism a mitochondrial disease? (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Is autism a mitochondrial disease? | $0.00 | 2009 | 2344
Is autism a mitochondrial disease? | $60,000.00 | 2008 | 2344