Transcranial magnetic stimulation may provide a noninvasive approach to studying how connections in the human brain change in response to new information, and how that process is altered in autism, says Lindsay Oberman.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: synaptic plasticity
The protein lacking in fragile X syndrome works with three autism-linked proteins to fine-tune the connections between neurons, according to a study published 21 December in Cell.
FMRP, the protein missing in fragile X syndrome, binds to the RNA sequences of 939 genes, 93 of which have been linked to autism, according to a study published 20 December in Nature.
Postmortem brains from individuals with autism have astrocytes that are smaller but denser than in control brains, according to a study published 21 September in the Journal of Neuroinflammation. The researchers found similar alterations in a mouse that lacks the autism-linked gene NLGN3.
Four new studies of neuroligin-1 (NLGN1), a gene linked to autism, unravel its complex role in regulating the connections between neurons.
Mutations in SHANK3, a leading autism risk gene, occur in roughly two percent of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, according to a study published 15 August in the European Journal of Human Genetics.
Mice that lack the autism-linked gene neuroligin-3 show similar deficits in neuronal connections to those seen in fragile X syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation, according to research published 13 September in Science. Restoring the gene in adolescent mice reverses the problem, suggesting a potential pathway for treatment.
Pregnant rats exposed to a virus give birth to offspring with significantly altered levels of three proteins important for brain development, according to a study published 9 June in Molecular Brain.
Immune cells called microglia may play a central role in trimming synapses, the connections between neurons, according to research published 24 May in Neuron. These modifications are part of a normal developmental process by which excess synapses in the brain are destroyed.