Navigation Links
Autism may be linked to abnormal immune system characteristics and novel protein fragment
Date:1/3/2012

Tampa, FL (Jan 3, 2012) Immune system abnormalities that mimic those seen with autism spectrum disorders have been linked to the amyloid precursor protein (APP), reports a research team from the University of South Florida's Department of Psychiatry and the Silver Child Development Center.

The study, conducted with mouse models of autism, suggests that elevated levels of an APP fragment circulating in the blood could explain the aberrations in immune cell populations and function both observed in some autism patients. The findings were recently published online in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The USF researchers concluded that the protein fragment might be both a biomarker for autism and a new research target for understanding the physiology of the disorder.

"Autism affects one in 110 children in the United States today," said research team leader Jun Tan, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and the Robert A. Silver Chair, Rashid Laboratory for Developmental Neurobiology at USF's Silver Child Development Center. "While there are reports of abnormal T-cell numbers and function in some persons affected with autism, no specific cause has been identified. The disorder is diagnosed by behavioral observation and to date no associated biomarkers have been identified."

"Not only are there no associated biomarkers, but the prognosis for autism is poor and the costs associated with care are climbing," said Francisco Fernandez, MD, department chair and head of the Silver Center. "The work of Dr. Tan and his team is a start that may lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments."

The amyloid precursor protein is typically the focus of research related to Alzheimer's disease. However, recent scientific reports have identified elevated levels of the particular protein fragment, called, sAPP-α, in the blood of autistic children. The fragment is a well-known growth factor for nerves, and studies imply that it plays a role in T-cell immune responses as well.

To study the autism-related effects of this protein fragment on postnatal neurodevelopment and behavior, Dr. Tan and his team inserted the human DNA sequence coding for the sAPP-α fragment into the genome of a mouse model for autism. While the studies are ongoing, the researchers documented the protein fragment's effects on the immune system of the test mice.

"We used molecular biology and immunohistochemistry techniques to characterize T-cell development in the thymus and also function in the spleen of the test animals," Dr. Tan said. "Then we compared transgenic mice to their wild-type littermates."

The researchers found that increased levels of sAPP-α in the transgenic mice led to increased cytotoxic T-cell numbers. The investigators also discovered subsequent impairment in the recall function of memory T-cells in the test mice, suggesting that the adaptive immune response is negatively affected in the presence of high levels of the protein fragment.

"Our work suggests that the negative effects of elevated sAPP-α on the adaptive immune system is a novel mechanism underlying certain forms of autism," concluded Dr. Tan, who holds the Silver Chair in Developmental Neurobiology. "The findings also add support to the role of sAPP-α in the T-cell response."


'/>"/>

Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3303
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Neurons grown from skin cells may hold clues to autism
2. Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders vary widely across clinics
3. UMMS researchers identify epigenetic signatures of autism
4. New findings validate the accuracy of autism diagnosis in children with Down syndrome
5. Study finds promising drug treatment for improving language, social function in people with autism
6. Children with autism benefit from early, intensive therapy
7. Study finds pregnancy and birth environment may affect development of autism in twins
8. Weatherstone Fellows publish research as Autism Speaks announces 2011 Weatherstone Fellows
9. Research reveals effectiveness of seizure treatments for children with autism
10. Therapies to improve biochemical functions hold promise as treatments for autism
11. Women who start prenatal vitamins early are less likely to have children with autism
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Autism may be linked to abnormal immune system characteristics and novel protein fragment
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance ... Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies for ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... YORK , May 16, 2016   EyeLock ... solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT Center ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris ... an unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched ... authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and ... global partnership that will provide end customers with ... banking and payment services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ... area for financial services, but it also plays a fundamental ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced ... this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... HOUSTON , June 23, 2016 ... agreement with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve ... of the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide ... education and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes ... partner with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, ... explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published ... the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D ... cost of cancer care is placing an increasing ... of expensive biologic therapies. With the patents on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: