Study gives new insights into understanding of autism

    ANI |
    Feb 16, 2023 19:48 IST

    Montreal [Canada], February 16 (ANI): The study revealed that sensory signals from the outside world are integrated differently in Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most prevalent cause of autism, resulting in them being underrepresented by cortical neurons“>pyramidal neurons in the brain.
    The findings of a recent study led by Roberto Araya, a Canadian neuroscientist, biophysicist, and researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre in Montreal and results were published on January 3 in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    This phenomenon could provide important clues to the underlying cause of the symptoms of this syndrome. The research team’s work not only provides insight into the mechanism at the cellular level, but also opens the door to new targets for therapeutic strategies.
    Autism is characterized by a wide range of symptoms that may stem from differences in brain development. With advanced imaging tools and the genetic manipulation of neurons, the team of researchers at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center was able to observe the functioning of individual neurons – specifically neurons“>pyramidal neurons of cortical layer 5 – one of the main information output neurons of the cortex (the thin layer of tissue found on the surface of the brain).
    The researchers found a difference in how sensory signals are processed in these neurons.

    “Previous work has suggested that FXS and autism spectrum disorders are characterized by a hyperexcitable cortex, which is considered to be the main contributor to the hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli observed in autistic individuals,” said Araya, also a professor in the Department of Neurosciences at Universite de Montreal.
    “To our surprise, our experimental results challenge this generalized view that there is a global hypersensitivity in the neocortex associated with FXS. They show that the integration of sensory signals in cortical neurons is underrepresented in a murine model of FXS,” added Diana E. Michell, first co-author of the study.
    A protein, FMRP, that is absent in the brains of people with FXS modulates the activity of a type of potassium channel in the brain. According to the research group’s work, it is the absence of this protein that alters the way sensory inputs are combined, causing them to be underrepresented by the signals coming out of the cortical neurons“>pyramidal neurons in the brain.
    Soledad Miranda-Rottmann, also first co-author of the study, attempted to rectify the situation with genetic and molecular biology techniques. “Even in the absence of the FMRP protein, which has several functions in the brain, we were able to demonstrate how the representation of sensory signals can be restored in cortical neurons by reducing the expression of a single molecule,” she said.
    “This finding opens the door to new strategies to offer support to those with FXS and possibly other autism spectrum disorders to correctly perceive sensory signals from the outside world at the level of neurons“>pyramidal neurons in the cortex,” concluded Araya.
    “Even if the over-representation of internal brain signals causing hyperactivity is not addressed, the correct representation of sensory signals may be sufficient to allow better processing of signals from the outside world and of learning that is better suited to decision making and engagement in action.” (ANI)

    Source link

    Latest articles


    Related articles

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here