Nils Brose Can Autism Be Explained by Biological Causes and Hence Be Treated Medically?
© Maximilian Dörrbecker
Max Planck Society
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Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine
Research at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine focuses on the genetic, molecular, and cellular processes that control the formation and integrity of the nervous system and its malfunction in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. A particular emphasis is on neural development and function, signaling between nerve cells and neuroplasticity, and the complex functional and metabolic interplay between glial cells and neurons in the brain. Scientists at the institute study the basic biology of these processes - from the molecular and cellular to the systems level, and from mouse to man - and their perturbations in model diseases such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, leukodystrophies, schizophrenia, or autism. (Source: MPI for Experimental Medicine)
Autism spectrum disorders are largely of genetic origin, and 5-10% of cases are currently known to be caused by a single gene mutation. Understanding the consequences of these mutations in detail can open the way for medical treatment. The study presented in this video focused on how a frequent mutation seen in patients with autism spectrum disorders causes the brain dysfunction that leads to the behavioral symptoms. Based on mice with the same genetic lesion that is known to cause autism spectrum disorder in human patients, mutant brains and nerve cells and the behavior of mutant mice were examined. The mice showed clear signs of autism related behavioral defects, and further analyses provided insights into the changes in brain function that are caused by the gene mutation, as NILS BROSE explains in this video. The corresponding data show that synapses of nerve cells that use the neurotransmitter GABA are particularly affected by the mutation. If these results can be confirmed to reflect the situation in the human body, there would be a chance to interfere with medication targeting GABAergic synapses.
LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10270
Perturbed Hippocampal Synaptic Inhibition and Gamma-Oscillations in a Neuroligin-4 Knockout Mouse Model of Autism
- Matthieu Hammer, Dilja Krueger-Burg, Liam Patrick Tuffy, Benjamin Hillman Cooper, Holger Taschenberger, Sarit Pati Goswami, Hannelore Ehrenreich, Peter Jonas, Frederique Varoqueaux, Jeong-Seop Rhee and Nils Brose
- Cell Reports
- Published in 2015