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White Matter Glial Pathology in Autism

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2012,31 Aug 2015

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East Tennessee State University Johnson City United States

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Methods used to directly study the autism brain include brain imaging in living patients and pathology studies using postmortem brain tissues from deceased autism spectrum disorder ASD donors. These methods typically focus on brain regions as a whole with little regard to the underlying cellular complexity. While informative, these approaches do not provide information about the specific brain cells affected and also have not been successful in revealing the underlying cause of autism. This project uses innovative methods and a novel approach to investigate the pathology of the brain in autism spectrum disorder ASD. This research employed laser capture microdissection to isolate specific cell populations from carefully defined and specific brain regions from ASD and typically developing control brains. These cells were used to interrogate gene expression abnormalities that may underlie biological mechanisms that contribute behavioral abnormalities of ASD. By examining the ASD brain at the level of its most basic component, the cell, we seek to reveal a potentially unifying cellular pathology of the ASD brain that could be used for the development of therapeutic alternatives for ASD patients.


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