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    Home > Biochemistry News > Biotechnology News > Some autism spectrum disorder symptoms linked to astrocytes

    Some autism spectrum disorder symptoms linked to astrocytes

    • Last Update: 2022-05-17
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
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    A humanized mouse model of autism
    .
    This image depicts a section of the brain with green astrocytes

    .
    Top row: control astrocytes; bottom row: astrocytes from patients with autism spectrum disorder

    .

    Abnormalities in a type of brain cell called astrocytes may play a key role in causing certain behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, according to a preclinical study by Weill Cornell Medicine researchers
    .

    In the study, published April 1 in Molecular Psychiatry, senior author Dr.
    Dilek Colak and her colleagues took astrocyte stem cells from autistic patients and transplanted them into healthy newborn mice

    .
    They found that after the transplant, the mice developed repetitive behaviors, a hallmark symptom of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but they did not develop the social deficits associated with the disease

    .
    The mice also developed memory deficits, which are common in autism spectrum disorder but not a core feature of the disease

    .

    "Our study suggests that astrocyte abnormalities may contribute to the development and progression of autism spectrum disorders," said Dr.
    Colak, who is also an assistant professor of pediatric neuroscience and a member of the Drukier Institute for Children's Health

    .
    "Astrocyte abnormalities may be associated with repetitive behavior or memory deficits, but not with other symptoms such as social impairment

    .
    "

    Most research on autism spectrum disorders has focused on the role of neurons, a type of brain cell that transmits information in the brain
    .
    But other brain cells, called astrocytes, help regulate the behavior of neurons and the connections between them

    .
    Gene mutations linked to autism spectrum disorders may have different effects on various types of cells in the brain, Dr.
    Colak said

    .
    Autopsy studies have revealed abnormalities in astrocytes in the brains of people with autism spectrum disorders

    .

    "We don't know if abnormalities in these astrocytes contribute to the development of disease, or if these abnormalities are a consequence of disease," Dr.
    Colak said

    .

    To determine whether astrocytes might develop early in the disease, the team took stem cells from people with autism spectrum disorder, induced them to develop into astrocytes in the lab, and transplanted them into other Human-mouse chimeras were created in the brains of healthy newborn mice
    .

    Using a microscopy technique called two-photon imaging, they observed excess calcium signaling in human astrocytes in transplanted mouse brains, co-lead author, Weill Cornell Medical College Neuropsychiatry Science lecturer Dr Ben Huang explained
    .

    "It was surprising to see these human astrocytes respond to behavioral changes in active mice," said Dr.
    Colak

    .
    "We believe that we are the first to record the activity of transplanted human astrocytes in this way

    .
    "

    To determine whether the increased calcium signaling caused behavioral symptoms in the mice, the team infected astrocytes grown from stem cells from ASD patients with a virus that carried an RNA segment designed to reduce calcium signaling to normal levels
    .
    When they transplanted these astrocytes into mice, the mice had no memory problems

    .

    "Future treatments for autism may take advantage of this finding by using genetic tools to limit the extreme fluctuations in calcium within astrocytes," said co-author Megan Allen, director of Weill Cornell Medicine.
    Postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at the Phil Family Institute for Brain and Psychology

    .

    Dr.
    Colak said the findings could also have important implications for understanding and treating other neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, which also involves memory deficits

    .

    "It is important to identify the role of specific types of brain cells, including astrocytes, in neurodevelopment and neuropsychiatric disease," she said
    .



    Courtesy of Weill Cornell Medicine


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