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

How does IL-6 mediate the development of autism-related behaviors?  

Maternal infection is an environmental factor that can increase the incidence of autism in the offspring. In an animal model of this risk factor, respiratory infection of pregnant mice yields offspring that develop behavioral abnormalities and neuropathology consistent with those observed in autistic patients. These changes can be mimicked by maternal injection of the dsRNA, poly(I:C), which evokes an anti-viral inflammatory response. Recent studies have shown that the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is necessary and sufficient for mediating the development of behavioral and transcriptional changes in this maternal immune activation (MIA) model. While IL-6 is critical for mediating the effects of MIA, the mechanism by which IL-6 acts to alter neural development is unknown. Preliminary results indicate that IL-6 activates cells in the placenta and fetal brain, causing the induction of IL-6 response genes and IL-6 mRNA as well. This project will identify the cells that respond to IL-6 and localize the source(s) of IL-6 production. The long-term goals are to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which IL-6 alters fetal brain development and to discover how these defects influence postnatal behavioral dysfunction. Project Status


Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $28,000.00
Current Award Period 2009-2011
Project Number 6330
Principal Investigator Hsiao, Elaine
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 California Institute of Technology
State/Country California
Web Link 1 How does IL-6 mediate the development of autism-related behaviors? (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects How does IL-6 mediate the development of autism-related behaviors? | $28,000.00 | 2009 | 3628