Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study characterizes epigenetic signatures of autism in brain tissue

Date:
November 8, 2011
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Neurons in the prefrontal cortex of individuals with autism show changes at numerous sites across the genome, according to a new study.

Neurons in the prefrontal cortex of individuals with autism show changes at numerous sites across the genome, according to a study being published Online First by the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Related Articles


Autism spectrum disorders are a group of complex illnesses with different causes and origins. Neuronal dysfunction in the cerebral cortex and other regions of the brain could contribute to the cognitive and behavioral defects in autism, according to background information in the article. Neurons are nerve cells that send and receive electrical signals within the body.

Hennady P. Shulha, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Mass., and colleagues examined the postmortem brain tissue of 16 individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (average age 17.4 years; range 2 to 60 years) and 16 controls without autism (ranging in age from less than one year to 70 years). The tissue was obtained through the Autism Tissue Program.

The study searched, on a genome-wide scale, for genes that show an abnormal epigenetic signature -- specifically histone methylation. Histones are small proteins attached to the DNA that control gene expression and activity. While genetic information is encoded by the (genome's) DNA sequence, methylation and other types of histone modifications regulate genome organization and gene expression. The study found hundreds of loci (the places genes occupy on chromosomes) across the genome affected by altered histone methylation in the brains of autistic individuals. However, only a small percentage -- less than 10 percent -- of the affected genes were affected by DNA mutations. It remains to be determined whether or not genetic changes elsewhere in the genome contributed to the observed epigenetic changes, or whether non-genetic factors were responsible for the disease process in some of the affected individuals.

"Prefrontal cortex neurons from subjects with autism show changes in chromatin (the substance of chromosomes) structures at hundreds of loci genome-wide, revealing considerable overlap between genetic and epigenetic risk maps of developmental brain disorders," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. P. Shulha, I. Cheung, C. Whittle, J. Wang, D. Virgil, C. L. Lin, Y. Guo, A. Lessard, S. Akbarian, Z. Weng. Epigenetic Signatures of Autism: Trimethylated H3K4 Landscapes in Prefrontal Neurons. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2011; DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.151

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Study characterizes epigenetic signatures of autism in brain tissue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111107162734.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2011, November 8). Study characterizes epigenetic signatures of autism in brain tissue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111107162734.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Study characterizes epigenetic signatures of autism in brain tissue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111107162734.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. 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