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

IL-6-mediated Jak2/Stat3 signaling and brain development  

It has been suggested that activation of pregnant mother's immune system by infections can affect the brain of the developing fetus and thus behavior of young and adult offspring. Most recently, it was reported in mice that increased interluekin-6 (IL-6; a chemical messenger of the immune system) in the mother's blood plays a key role in altering fetal brain development and impairing behaviors in social interactions in the offspring. Interestingly, these effects could be avoided by blocking IL-6 chemically with an antibody or by genetically altering mice so they are deficient in IL-6. Preliminary studies showed that natural citrus molecules, luteolin and diosmin, inhibit the signaling mechanism (JAK2/STAT3) in neurons which carries IL-6's signal to the nucleus. When luteolin and diosmin were applied to pregnant mice, researchers found a reduction in inflammatory markers in the brains of newborn mice. In this study, researchers will examine whether or not JAK2/STAT3 signal pathway activation could be specifically involved in brain structural abnormalities in IL-6-induced activation of the maternal immune system (presumably resulting in development of abnormal behavior in adult offspring that mimics features of autism). In addition, they will test diosmin's potential effect on improving abnormal, autistic like behaviors of offspring of IL-6 immune activated mothers. These studies could lay the foundation for diosmin as a prenatal supplement in at-risk mothers to avoid autism development in their children, much like folate is currently in use to avoid neural tube defects. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $220,500.00
Current Award Period 2010-2012
Project Number 1R21MH087849-01A1
Principal Investigator Tan, Jun
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Environment
Strategic Plan Objective Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3LC. Determine the effect of at least five environmental factors on the risk for subtypes of ASD in the pre- and early postnatal period of development by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $25,100,000 over 7 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of South Florida
State/Country Florida
Web Link 1 IL-6-mediated Jak2/Stat3 signaling and brain development (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
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