Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does the brain become unglued in autism?

Date:
December 11, 2012
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
A new study suggests that autism is associated with reductions in the level of cellular adhesion molecules in the blood, where they play a role in immune function. Cell adhesion molecules are the glue that binds cells together in the body. Deficits in adhesion molecules would be expected to compromise processes at the interfaces between cells, influencing tissue integrity and cell-to-cell signaling. In the brain, deficits in adhesion molecules could compromise brain development and communication between nerve cells.

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that autism is associated with reductions in the level of cellular adhesion molecules in the blood, where they play a role in immune function.

Related Articles


Cell adhesion molecules are the glue that binds cells together in the body. Deficits in adhesion molecules would be expected to compromise processes at the interfaces between cells, influencing tissue integrity and cell-to-cell signaling. In the brain, deficits in adhesion molecules could compromise brain development and communication between nerve cells.

Over the years, deficits in neural cell adhesion molecules have been implicated in schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. One adhesion molecule, neurexin, is strongly implicated in the heritable risk for autism.

Cell adhesion molecules also play a crucial role in regulating immune cell access to the central nervous system. Prior research provided evidence of immune system dysfunction in individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This led scientists from the University of California, Davis to examine whether adhesion molecules are altered in children with ASD.

To conduct the study, they recruited 2-4 year old children, 49 of whom were diagnosed with an ASD and 31 of whom were typically developing. They measured blood plasma levels of multiple molecules, conducted behavioral assessments, and measured head circumference in all participants.

"For the first time, we show that levels of soluble sPECAM-1 and sP-selectin, two molecules that mediate leukocyte migration, are significantly decreased in young children with ASD compared with typically developing controls of the same age," explained the authors. "This finding is consistent with previous reports of decreased levels of both sPECAM-1 and sP-selectin in adults with high-functioning autism."

They also found that repetitive behavior scores and sPECAM-1 levels were associated in children with ASD. Repetitive, stereotyped behaviors are a typical feature of ASD and these data suggest a potential relationship between molecule levels and the severity of repetitive behaviors.

Finally, they also discovered that head circumference was associated with increased sPECAM-1 levels in the typically developing children, but not in the children with ASD. This indicates that perhaps sPECAM-1 plays a role in normal brain growth, as larger head circumference is a known feature of individuals with autism.

"The report of reductions in adhesion molecules in blood in autism is interesting in light of recent genetic findings. However, the importance of these measurements remains somewhat uncertain," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "Our field continues to look for blood tests that might inform the diagnostic and treatment process."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Charity E. Onore, Christine Wu Nordahl, Gregory S. Young, Judy A. Van de Water, Sally J. Rogers, Paul Ashwood. Levels of Soluble Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 and P-Selectin Are Decreased in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 2012; 72 (12): 1020 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.05.004

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Does the brain become unglued in autism?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083037.htm>.
Elsevier. (2012, December 11). Does the brain become unglued in autism?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083037.htm
Elsevier. "Does the brain become unglued in autism?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211083037.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alzheimer’s Hope

Alzheimer’s Hope

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) A new drug, BCI-838 offers new hope to halt and possibly reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s disease. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. 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