“Autistic Repetitive Behavior, Brain Astrocyte Abnormalities”
(Seoul = Yonhap News) Reporter Seonggan Han = A study that the repetitive behaviors, a typical symptom of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) along with social deficits, may be due to abnormalities in astrocytes, a helper cell in the brain The results came out.
Astrocytes are star-shaped support cells that help nerve cells in the brain. They produce energy needed for the brain, regulate iron and hydrogen ion concentrations (pH), and are involved in the formation of synapses, which are signal transduction pathways of nerve cells. do. In a word, it can be said that the cells in charge of the housekeeping of the brain.
A team led by Dr. Dillek Colach of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell University Medical Center in the United States discovered this fact by creating astrocytes from stem cells from ASD patients and transplanting them into the brains of mice. (MedicalXpress) reported on the 26th.
The research team cultured stem cells collected from ASD patients, differentiated them into astrocytes, and transplanted them into the brains of newly born healthy mice.
The mice then exhibited repetitive behaviors, one of the typical symptoms of ASD.
In addition, although not a key symptom of ASD, memory deficits that are common in ASD patients were also found.
However, the most representative symptom of ASD, social deficit, did not appear.
This result suggests that if astrocytes are faulty, repetitive behavior or memory impairment occurs, but other symptoms such as social deficits are not affected.
ASD research is mostly focused on brain neurons that transmit brain information.
However, another cell in the brain, astrocytes, plays a role in regulating the behavior of neurons and signaling between neurons.
Genetic mutations associated with ASD can affect several types of brain cells, the team explains.
In some cases, abnormal astrocytes were found in brain autopsies of deceased ASD patients.
However, it is not known whether the abnormal astrocytes are the cause or the result of ASD, the team added.
The results of this study were published in the latest issue of the British scientific journal ‘Molecular Psychiatry’.
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