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

Gene expression and immune cell function in mothers of children with autism  

It is possible that an aberrant immune response in mothers during vulnerable, critical periods of neurodevelopment could produce neuronal injury in the fetal or neonatal brain and produce long-term neurological dysfunction characteristic of autism. In this study, researchers will examine several quantifiable biological signatures of immune cells in blood from mothers of children with autism, including RNA levels of immune molecules, functional assays of white blood cells, and the presence of antibodies directed to fetal-brain proteins. Findings from this study could help in identifying a subgroup of mothers of children with autism who share a specific immune-related phenotype. This may improve the ability of researchers to detect genes associated with this subgroup. The identification of biological signatures of specific autism-related immune abnormalities may shed light on the cause(s) of autism in this subgroup and potentially lead to prevention or treatment strategies prior to or during pregnancy. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $267,895.00
Current Award Period 2009-2011
Project Number 5R21HD065269-02
Principal Investigator Sharp, Frank; Ashwood, Paul; Van de Water, Judy
Received ARRA Funding? Yes
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. 3SE. Support at least two studies to determine if there are subpopulations that are more susceptible to environmental exposures (e.g., immune challenges related to infections, vaccinations, or underlying autoimmune problems) by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $8,000,000 over 2 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of California, Davis
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Gene expression and immune cell function in mothers of children with autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Gene expression and immune cell function in mothers of children with autism | $267,750.00 | 2009 | 1R21HD065269-01