Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Complex Gene Interactions Account For Autism Risk

Date:
August 3, 2005
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Using a novel analysis of the interactions among related genes, Duke University Medical Center researchers have uncovered some of the first evidence that complex genetic interactions account for autism risk.

Since one of the primaryfunctions of GABA is to inhibit nerve cells from firing, it plays a keyrole in telling the body to "slow down.". The GABA system thereforeacts as a sort of information filter, preventing the brain frombecoming over-stimulated, the researchers explained.

Related Articles


"Impairing the GABA systemcould overwhelm the brain with sensory information, leading to both thebehavior and the pattern of cell damage that emerges in autism," saidJohn Hussman, Ph.D., a study co-author and president of The HussmanFoundation, one of the groups that funded the study.

The researchers examined 14genes that encode portions of the GABA receptor in 470 Caucasianfamilies. Of those families, 266 included more than one person withautism and 204 included one autistic individual. The team tested forassociations between particular gene variants and the disease. Theyalso applied sophisticated statistical methods designed to zero in onthe effects of particular gene combinations.

The researchers found that oneof the GABA receptor genes, GABRA4, is involved in the origin ofautism. Moreover, they report, GABRA4 appears to increase autism riskthrough its interaction with a second GABA gene, GABRB1.

"This is a key finding for ourunderstanding of the complexity of interactions that underlie autism,"Pericak-Vance said. "We can now apply the analytical approach to othergenes that may play a role in the disease." Such findings mayultimately yield a method to screen for individuals at high risk forthe disease, she added.

"The new findings offerimportant new information for families affected by autism about thecomplexity of the disease," said clinical psychologist Michael Cuccaro,Ph.D., a study co-author also of the Duke Center for Human Genetics.

Furthermore, he added, existingmedications already target the GABA system, including diazepam(Valiumฎ) and some anti-epileptic drugs. "As we begin to understand theGABA system as it relates to the neurological underpinnings of autism,we may advance toward new therapies."

Collaborators on the studyinclude D.Q. Ma, P.L. Whithead, M.M. Menold, E.R. Martin, A.E.Ashley-Koch, G.R. DeLong and J.R. Gilbert, all of Duke; H. Mei of NorthCarolina State University; M.D. Ritchie of Vanderbilt University; andH.H. Wright, Ruth Abramson of University of South Carolina.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Complex Gene Interactions Account For Autism Risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050803063300.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2005, August 3). Complex Gene Interactions Account For Autism Risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050803063300.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Complex Gene Interactions Account For Autism Risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050803063300.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins