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

In-vivo imaging of neuronal structure and function in a reversible mouse model for autism.  

Overexpression of the transcriptional regulator MECP2 causes autistic features and abnormal neuronal structure and function in humans and mice. We hypothesize that the severity of cortical dysfunction mediated by MECP2 overexpression depends on the overall maturity of the brain, such that overexpression in an embryonic or early postnatal brain will have harsher consequences than overexpression in a fully matured adult brain. We also hypothesize that the damage to cortical circuits mediated by MECP2 overexpression are cumulative and become more entrenched with time, so reversal of MECP2 overexpression in the early postnatal period will more fully ameliorate disease phenotypes than reversal in the adult. To test these hypotheses, we will study autistic behaviors and motor cortical circuits in mice that overexpress MECP2 at different stages of development. We will then assess the entrenchedness of disease phenotypes by reversing gene overexpression in 1) a developing postnatal brain and 2) a fully matured adult brain. The results will help elucidate mechanisms of cortical circuit dysfunction in autism. Moreover, the data have that potential to provide proof of principle of the degree to which MECP2 duplication syndrome and autism are reversible, as well as information essential to the design of therapies and therapeutic regimens for such autistic spectrum disorders. Project Status


Funder Autism Speaks
Fiscal Year Funding $28,000.00
Current Award Period 2010-2012
Project Number 7053
Principal Investigator Ash, Ryan
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Subcategory Molecular Pathways
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 2SD. Launch three studies that target improved understanding of the underlying biological pathways of genetic conditions related to autism (e.g. Fragile X, Rett syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex) and how these conditions inform risk assessment and individualized intervention by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $9,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Baylor College of Medicine
State/Country Texas
Web Link 1 In-vivo imaging of neuronal structure and function in a reversible mouse model for autism. (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
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