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

Selective disruption of hippocampal dentate granule cells in autism: Impact of PTEN deletion  

During the development of a child, most brain cells are generated before birth. There is one group of brain cells, however, that are generated in large numbers in infancy. This occurs in a brain region called the hippocampus. These cells are important for the normal development of memory, cognition and language, and disruption of these cells is present in children with autism. The proposed studies seek to better elucidate the causes of autism by determining whether selective disruption of late-generated neurons - specifically hippocampal dentate granule cells - contributes to key features of autism. This will be achieved using a novel combination of transgenic mice to selectively eliminate a gene, PTEN, implicated in autism, from these late-generated neurons. Significantly, although the proximal cause of autism remains to be determined in most cases, the late generation of these neurons (in the late embryonic period and in infancy) may make them uniquely vulnerable to a variety of insults faced by the newborn child (e.g. infection). The proposal will also examine the role of granule cells in the development of epilepsy, the condition most commonly associated with autism. Demonstrating that these cells play an important role in the development of autism (or associated conditions like epilepsy), will provide a compelling rationale to develop new therapies to protect these vulnerable cells. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $371,250.00
Current Award Period 2009-2014
Project Number 5R01NS065020-02
Principal Investigator Danzer, Steve
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Subcategory Co-occurring Conditions
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 2SE. Launch three studies that target the underlying biological mechanisms of co-occurring conditions with autism, including seizures/epilepsy, sleep disorders, wandering/elopement behavior, and familial autoimmune disorders, by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $9,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
State/Country Ohio
Web Link 1 Selective disruption of hippocampal dentate granule cells in autism: Impact of PTEN deletion (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Selective disruption of hippocampal dentate granule cells in autism: Impact of PTEN deletion | $375,000.00 | 2009 | 1R01NS065020-01