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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Environmental exposure unveils mitochondrial dysfunction in autism

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Giulivi, Cecilia

Description

Description

Shared exposure to environmental factors appears to have a more prominent role in autism than genetics does. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are members of an important group of chemicals used in plastics, textiles, furniture and electronic devices. The global production of PBDEs has reached approximately 148 million pounds per year. PBDEs are used as flame retardants in plastics, to which they do not bind chemically. They can thus leach from polymers and pervasively accumulate in the built environment and ecosystem. Cecilia Giulivi and her colleagues at the University of California, Davis are working to bridge the gaps between the fields of autism, bioenergetics and environmental exposure. Giulivi’s team, as well as others, has reported a higher incidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorders compared with typical children. Because some PBDEs have the potential to disrupt specific mitochondrial targets, the researchers aim to evaluate whether the genetic makeup of individuals with autism sets a background of heightened susceptibility to environmental damage, namely to PBDE‐mediated mitochondrial dysfunction. They plan to explore the hypothesis that PBDE exposure, in the presence of genetic risk factors, may result in mitochondrial dysfunction. Disruption of mitochondrial metabolism may lead to neural energy deficits, contributing to the developmental and cognitive issues associated with autism.

Funder

Funder

Simons Foundation

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

60000

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2013-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented?

Strategic Plan Objective

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.

Project Link

Project Link

Environmental exposure unveils mitochondrial dysfunction in autism (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of California, Davis

State/Country

State/Country

California

Project Number

Project Number

271406

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Environmental exposure unveils mitochondrial dysfunction in autism | 0 | 2014 | 271406

 
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