Scientists research sheds new light on the causes of autism, which previously had pointed to neurological make-up rather than to the vascular system, and identifies a new target for potential therapeutic intervention.
2015 Study Abstract
In the current work, we conducted an immunocytochemical search for markers of ongoing neurogenesis (e.g. nestin) in auditory cortex from postmortem sections of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and age-matched control donors.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Persistent Angiogenesis in the Autism Brain: An Immunocytochemical Study of Postmortem Cortex, Brainstem and Cerebellum, doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2672-6, 14 December 2015.
We found nestin labeling in cells of the vascular system, indicating blood vessels plasticity. Evidence of angiogenesis was seen throughout superior temporal cortex (primary auditory cortex), fusiform cortex (face recognition center), pons/midbrain and cerebellum in postmortem brains from ASD patients but not control brains. We found significant increases in both nestin and CD34, which are markers of angiogenesis localized to pericyte cells and endothelial cells, respectively.
This labeling profile is indicative of splitting (intussusceptive), rather than sprouting, angiogenesis indicating the blood vessels are in constant flux rather than continually expanding.
Scientists find new vessel for detecting autism,
New York University, December 16, 2015.