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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

Modeling the serotonin contribution to autism spectrum disorders

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Blakely, Randy

Description

Description

The molecule serotonin (5-HT) is a key factor in the brain involved in feelings of reward and it interacts with specific transporters at the synapses of neurons in the brain. These transporters, termed SERTs, are known to influence the signaling activities of serotonin and have been pharmacologically targeted by antidepressants and psychostimulants in the treatment of mental illnesses. Altered SERT expression and function in the brain is theorized to contribute to multiple neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and suicide. The majority of studies that explore the contribution of SERT to mental illness have focused on disorders of adult onset. However, increasing evidence demonstrates that 5-HT signaling in the developing brain is critical to establish normal connectivity and behavior. A key example is autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which has been extensively linked to abnormal 5-HT regulation in scientific research for the past 50 years. In this study, researchers have identified rare variations in the SERT gene sequence in individuals with ASD who exhibit observable differences in serotonin transport levels. With this information, researchers have developed a novel, mouse model that exhibits specific expression patterns of a SERT gene variant. As SERT is responsible for inactivating serotonin in the brain, researchers hypothesize that altered availability of serotonin contributes to aspects of phenotypic symptoms observed in ASD.

Funder

Funder

National Institutes of Health

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

236532

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2012-2017

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help?

Strategic Plan Objective

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.

Project Link

Project Link

Modeling the serotonin contribution to autism spectrum disorders (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

State/Country

State/Country

Tennessee

Project Number

Project Number

1P50MH096972-01

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Federal

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

N/A

 
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