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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

Immunopathogenesis in autism: Regulatory T cells and autoimmunity in neurodevelopment

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

DeWitt, Jamie

Description

Description

Groups of patients with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are at risk for developing autoimmune diseases, which are diseases where the immune system attacks cells in its own body. Exposure to environmental contaminants during pregnancy is thought to contribute to autism/ASDs and autoimmune diseases. This suggests a link between environmental contaminants, the immune system, and autism/ASDs. Contaminants that affect cells known as regulatory T cells (Tregs) are likely candidates. Tregs prevent autoimmune diseases by controlling the immune cells, known as autoreactive T cells, from damaging organs in an autoimmune reaction. Contaminants such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perflurooctane sulfonate (PFOS), which impact the immune system, may also affect Tregs. Autism or ASDs may occur when developmental exposure to PFOA or PFOS affects Tregs, leading to disrupted control of autoreactive T cells that can damage the brain. Pregnant mice will be exposed to PFOA or PFOS. In their offspring, the following will be evaluated: numbers of Tregs; the ability of Tregs to secrete chemicals that control autoreactive T cells; levels of antibodies produced by autoreactive T cells that indicate increased risk of autoimmune disease; and changes in brains that may result from actions of autoreactive T cells. If alterations in Treg number and/or function from developmental exposure to PFOA or PFOS lead to brain damage from autoreactive T cells, then subsets of autism or ASD cases may result from altered Treg responses that lead to brain damage from autoreactive T cells.

Funder

Funder

Department of Defense - Autism Research Program

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2010-2011

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. 3SF. Initiate studies on at least 10 environmental factors identified in the recommendations from the 2007 IOM report "Autism and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for Research” as potential causes of ASD by 2012. Estimated cost $56,000,000 over 2 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Immunopathogenesis in autism: Regulatory T cells and autoimmunity in neurodevelopment (External web link)

Institution

Institution

East Carolina University

State/Country

State/Country

North Carolina

Project Number

Project Number

AR093526

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Federal

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Immunopathogenesis in autism: Regulatory T cells and autoimmunity in neurodevelopment | 0 | 2010 | AR093526
Immunopathogenesis in autism: Regulatory T cells and autoimmunity in neurodevelopment | 106609 | 2009 | AR093526

 
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