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

Prenatal and neonatal biologic markers for autism  

This grant supports the continuation of an investigation of prenatal and newborn biologic markers for autism previously funded by NIH. This project, known as the Early Markers for Autism (EMA) Study, is the first large, population-based case-control study to utilize these very early biologic specimens to elucidate underlying causes of autism. Preliminary results from the first funding cycle indicate that the mid-pregnancy immune profile of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is dysregulated in comparison to mothers of control children. The goal of the new study is to investigate further the role of prenatal and newborn immunologic factors, genetic susceptibility factors, environmental exposures, and the interplay of genes with environment, by evaluating stored prenatal (maternal) and newborn blood specimens for children with autism, children with mental retardation (MR) but not autism, and population controls. This study will utilize a much larger case-control cohort among a new sample of 1,200 mother-baby pairs (400 ASD, 400 MR, 400 GP controls), with an added family-based component that includes 60 siblings of ASD cases and 60 siblings of MR controls. Specimens will be analyzed for markers of immune system function (cytokines, chemokines, antibodies to fetal brain), environmental exposures (organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs), and candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and copy number variants (CNVs) regulating immune function, xenobiotic metabolism and detoxification, and maternal-fetal transport. This large sample size will ensure sufficient statistical power for the examination of relatively rare exposures, phenotypic subgroups of ASD, and ethnic subgroups. Results of this study will contribute to identifying factors that increase the risk for autism and may lead to eventual prevention of autism and related disorders. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $621,762.00
Current Award Period 2010-2015
Project Number 2R01ES016669-04A2
Principal Investigator Croen, Lisa
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Gene-Environment
Strategic Plan Objective Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3SC. Initiate efforts to expand existing large case-control and other studies to enhance capabilities for targeted gene – environment research by 2011. IACC Recommended Budget: $27,800,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Prenatal and neonatal biologic markers for autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Not available at this time. This functionality is experimental.