Animal Models

Spinning System Turns Stem Cells Into Mini-Brains

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute
Date Published: 
October 30, 2013
Abstract: 

Researchers have coaxed human stem cells to develop into simplified mini-brains, with regions resembling discrete brain structures, reported in the journal Nature. A spinning culture system prods stem cells to develop into neurons in three dimensions. The culture system is a gelatinous protein-rich mixture that provides both the structural support and nutrients required for neuronal development. Already, the researchers have shown that these artificial brains may model human disorders better than real mouse brains do.

Increasing the Gut Bacteria In Mice That Lack Them Helps Increase Their Sociability with Familiar Mice

Source: 
Molecular Psychiatry
Date Published: 
May 21, 2013
Abstract: 

A new study finds that increasing the gut bacteria populations in mice that lack them helps to increase their sociability. The increase in sociability is mainly limited to familiar mice but the study does show support for the theory of a connection between the gut and autism in certain cases.

Letting a Typical Mouse Judge Whether Mouse Social Interactions are Atypical

Source: 
Autism Research
Date Published: 
February 21, 2013
Abstract: 

This interesting preliminary study examined whether typical mice could recognize atypical social behavior in ASD mouse models. Wild-type mouse 'judges' preferred to be in chambers with other typical mice rather than socially atypical mice, suggesting that typical mice can distinguish mice displaying autism-like behavior from controls.

SFARI Gene

Source: 
SFARI
Date Published: 
February 21, 2013
Abstract: 

SFARI Gene is an integrated resource for the autism research community. It is a publicly available, curated, web-based, searchable database for autism research. This resource is built on information extracted from the studies on molecular genetics and biology of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The genetic information includes data from linkage and association studies, cytogenetic abnormalities, and specific mutations associated with ASD.

Astroglial FMRP-Dependent Translational Down-regulation of mGluR5 Underlies Glutamate Transporter GLT1 Dysregulation in the Fragile X Mouse

Source: 
Human Molecular Genetics
Date Published: 
February 7, 2013
Abstract: 

This paper discusses the role fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) plays in protein expression in astrocytes, and suggests that FMRP loss in astrocytes may contribute to the development of fragile X.

Modeling an Autism Risk Factor in Mice Leads to Permanent Immune Dysregulation

Source: 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Date Published: 
July 31, 2012
Abstract: 

"Increasing evidence highlights a role for the immune system in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as immune dysregulation is observed in the brain, periphery, and gastrointestinal tract of ASD individuals. Furthermore, maternal infection (maternal immune activation, MIA) is a risk factor for ASD. Modeling this risk factor in mice yields offspring with the cardinal behavioral and neuropathological symptoms of human ASD."

Maternal Autism-Associated IgG Antibodies Delay Development and Produce Anxiety In A Mouse Gestational Transfer Model

Source: 
Journal of Neuroimmunology
Date Published: 
November 15, 2012
Abstract: 

"A murine passive transfer model system was employed to ascertain the effects of gestational exposure to a single, intravenous dose of purified, brain-reactive IgG antibodies from individual mothers of children with autism (MAU) or mothers with typically developing children (MTD). Growth and behavioral outcomes in offspring were measured from postnatal days 8 to 65 in each group. Comparisons revealed alterations in early growth trajectories, significantly impaired motor and sensory development, and increased anxiety. This report demonstrates for the first time the effects of a single, low dose gestational exposure of IgG derived from individual MAU on their offspring's physical and social development."

FMRP Targets Distinct mRNA Sequence Elements to Regulate Protein Expression

Source: 
Nature
Date Published: 
December 12, 2012
Abstract: 

Researchers link Fragile X syndrome protein to 93 genes that have been implicated in ASD. Lead investigator says the findings may lead to more detailed genetic tests.

Researchers Swing Toward Monkey Models of Autism

Source: 
SFARI
Date Published: 
October 18, 2012
Abstract: 

Scientists reveal efforts to create transgenic monkey models of autism. Compared to mice and rats, these animals are more genetically similar to humans, and display more complex social and communicative behaviors.

SFARI Reviews Mouse Models Used in Autism Genetics Research

Source: 
Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date Published: 
September 25, 2012
Abstract: 

New genetic variants that increase susceptibility to autism are emerging at a rapid pace from scans for copy number variants (CNVs) — deletions or duplications of DNA segments — and next-generation sequencing. Given the profusion of data, it seems timely to assess the availability and usefulness of mouse models in which to study these genetic risk factors.