Navigation Links
USC researchers identify gene variant associated with both autism and gastrointestinal dysfunction
Date:3/1/2009

A study led by researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and Vanderbilt University have identified a specific gene variant that links increased genetic risk for autism with gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.

The findings suggest that disrupted signaling of the MET gene may contribute to a syndrome that includes autism and co-occurring gastrointestinal dysfunction, says principal investigator Pat Levitt, Ph.D., director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and chair-designate of the Department of cell and neurobiology.

The study will appear in the March Issue of the journal Pediatrics and is now available online.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by deficits in communication abilities, social behavior disruption and inflexible behavior. While gastrointestinal conditions are common among individuals with autism, researchers have long debated whether co-occurring GI dysfunction represents a unique autism subgroup, Levitt and lead author Daniel Campbell, Ph.D., say.

"Gastrointestinal disorders don't cause autism. Autism is a disorder of brain development," Levitt says. "However, our study is the first to bring together genetic risk for autism and co-occurring GI disorders in a way that provides a biologically plausible explanation for why they are seen together so often."

In the brain, the MET gene is expressed in developing circuits that are involved in social behavior and communication. Disturbances in MET expression result in alterations in how these critical circuits develop and mature, Levitt explains. Research indicates that MET also plays an important role in development and repair of the GI system.

Researchers analyzed medical history records from 214 families in the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). They found that a variant in the MET gene was associated with autism specifically in those families where an individual had co-occurring autism and a GI condition.

The study brings researchers closer to understanding the complex genetic risks for autism. However, further research is needed, as different combinations of genes are likely to result in different types of autism features, Levitt says.

"We believe that there are other genes that will help identify different subgroups of individuals who have autism spectrum disorder," he says. "We also believe that there needs to be research looking at whether the children with co-occurring GI dysfunction and autism have unique features that will help us predict what treatments will be best for them."


'/>"/>

Contact: Meghan Lewit
lewit@usc.edu
323-442-3941
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers piggyback to safer reprogrammed stem cells
2. Researchers capture wave of brain activity linked to anticipation
3. UMMS researchers publish DNA identification of czars children
4. Researchers win award for best clinical paper in orthopedic physical therapy
5. Researchers uncover obesity gene involved in weight gain response to high-fat diet
6. Researchers generate functional neurons from somatic cells
7. UNH researchers studying spiny dogfish, Gulf of Maines mini shark
8. UT Southwestern researchers identify molecule that helps the sleep-deprived to mentally rebound
9. Case Western Reserve researchers develop wireless activation of brain circuits
10. Caltech and UCSD researchers shed light on how proteins find their shapes
11. Researchers call for nitrogen and phosphorus reductions to combat eutrophication in aquatic systems
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems, ... Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  The latest ... comprehensive analysis of the global Border Security market ... of $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: In ... in software and hardware technologies for advanced video surveillance. ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... , May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , ... published the overview results from the Q1 wave of ... recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where ... with a health insurance company. "We were ... share," says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2016)...  According to Kalorama Information, the dominant trends ... include significant efforts in automation as well as ... affordable sequencers, say the healthcare market research firm, ... sample prep materials.  The healthcare market research company,s ... Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) , highlights major trends ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016   ViaCyte, ... first pluripotent stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for the ... presentations at ISSCR 2016 Annual Meeting.  ISSCR 2016, the ... to 25th at Moscone West in San Francisco.  ... of the presentations are as follows:Event: , Focus Session: ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016  Mesa Biotech Inc., a privately-held, molecular ... designed specifically for point-of-care (POC) infectious disease diagnosis, ... board (SAB). Approved by the executive leadership team ... to advise on the development and commercialization of ... Dr. Steve Young , this world-class team ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... China , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... 2 clinical trial for its novel patch product AB001 ... and clinically meaningful pain relief against placebo. Conducted at ... , the trial enrolled 146 patients with chronic ... analgesia against placebo at week-1 (p=0.024), (2) greater reduction ...
Breaking Biology Technology: