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

Serotonin, corpus callosum, and autism  

The most consistent anatomical characteristic of ASD is a reduction in the size of the corpus callosum - a sign of underconnectivity between the two cortical hemispheres. The neurotransmitter serotonin (5HT) plays a critical role during early brain development, and 5HT synthesis is altered in autistic individuals at early ages. The most challenging and clinically relevant aspects of this proposal is the attempt to link the recent drastic increase of ASD to the increased number of mothers taking antidepressant drugs, namely selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), during pregnancy and nursing. The central hypothesis in this study is that abnormal regulation of 5HT during early brain development interferes with myelin formation and the establishment of normal inter-hemispheric connections. The proposed experiments are designed to address this hypothesis by studying anatomical, neurochemical, physiological, and behavioral effects following increased serotonin activation in rats just prior to and after birth. Rat mothers and rat pups will be treated with the common anti-depressant citalopram (the most selective SSRI). Results from this study may help develop a future animal model for ASD and could hold the key to linking serotonin dysfunction during early brain development to increased rates of maternal SSRI usage during pregnancy and nursing. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $303,250.00
Current Award Period 2008-2012
Project Number 5R01MH084194-03
Principal Investigator Lin, Rick
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Treatments)
Subcategory Model Systems/Therapeutic Targets
Strategic Plan Objective Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4SB. Standardize and validate at least 20 model systems (e.g., cellular and/or animal) that replicate features of ASD and will allow identification of specific molecular targets or neural circuits amenable to existing or new interventions by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $75,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of Mississippi Medical Center
State/Country Mississippi
Web Link 1 Serotonin, corpus callosum, and autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects Serotonin, corpus callosum, and autism | $303,250.00 | 2009 | 5R01MH084194-02
Serotonin, corpus callosum, and autism | $327,250.00 | 2008 | R01MH084194-01