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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

Influence of the maternal immune response on the development of autism

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Ponzio, Nicholas

Description

Description

Both T cells and cytokines (proteins which are produced by and regulate the behavior of immune cells) are implicated in various neurological disorders. Cytokines present in the maternal immune system can cross the placenta and enter fetal tissues, and this may affect fetal development. Preliminary results from the Ponzio laboratory have shown that one such cytokine, interleukin-2 (IL-2), may affect fetal brain development, as the offspring of pregnant mice injected with IL-2 display abnormal behaviors. In the present study, these researchers will examine the role of maternal cytokines and immune cells as an environmental trigger for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Cytokines will be administered to pregnant mice by injection, and the effects on fetal brain development will be examined by behavioral testing of offspring for features selectively found in autism. IL-2 may act directly on the developing brain, or it may stimulate other components of the mother's immune system which in turn affects brain development. To determine which subsets of maternal immune cells and cytokines are stimulated by IL-2 treatment, the maternal immune system will be characterized by molecular and cell immunological techniques. Correlating the activations of the immune system during pregnancy and the development of autistic-like characteristics in offspring will have clinical relevance for understanding the underlying causes of autism.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2008-2011

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 2SA. Support at least four research projects to identify mechanisms of fever, metabolic and/or immune system interactions with the central nervous system that may influence ASD during prenatal-postnatal life by 2010. IACC Recommended Budget: $9,800,000 over 4 years. (Fever studies to be started by 2012.)

Project Link

Project Link

Influence of the maternal immune response on the development of autism (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey

State/Country

State/Country

New Jersey

Project Number

Project Number

2545

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

N/A

 
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