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

Influence of the maternal immune response on the development of autism  

Both T cells and cytokines (proteins which are produced by and regulate the behavior of immune cells) are implicated in various neurological disorders. Cytokines present in the maternal immune system can cross the placenta and enter fetal tissues, and this may affect fetal development. Preliminary results from the Ponzio laboratory have shown that one such cytokine, interleukin-2 (IL-2), may affect fetal brain development, as the offspring of pregnant mice injected with IL-2 display abnormal behaviors. In the present study, these researchers will examine the role of maternal cytokines and immune cells as an environmental trigger for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Cytokines will be administered to pregnant mice by injection, and the effects on fetal brain development will be examined by behavioral testing of offspring for features selectively found in autism. IL-2 may act directly on the developing brain, or it may stimulate other components of the mother's immune system which in turn affects brain development. To determine which subsets of maternal immune cells and cytokines are stimulated by IL-2 treatment, the maternal immune system will be characterized by molecular and cell immunological techniques. Correlating the activations of the immune system during pregnancy and the development of autistic-like characteristics in offspring will have clinical relevance for understanding the underlying causes of autism. Project Status
ONGOING

2010

Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $127,499.00
Current Award Period 2008-2011
Project Number 2545
Principal Investigator Ponzio, Nicholas
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 Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
State/Country New Jersey
Web Link 1 Influence of the maternal immune response on 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 the maternal immune response on the development of autism | $150,000.00 | 2008 | 2545
Influence of the maternal immune response on the development of autism | $127,499.15 | 2009 | 2545