A systematic study of MAP2 and SMI-311 immunolabelled neurons and dendrites within the cerebral cortex in autism

Rezaie, P.; Del Valle Suarez, E. M.; Schmitz, C. and Gabbott, P. L. (2009). A systematic study of MAP2 and SMI-311 immunolabelled neurons and dendrites within the cerebral cortex in autism. In: 110th Meeting of the British Neuropathological Society, 7-9 Jan 2009, Institute of Child Health, London.

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-...

Abstract

Introduction: Altered neuronal development is considered central to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A previous study (Mukaetova-Ladinska et al. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 2004; 30: 615) reported lowered neuronal MAP2 expression, reduced dendrites and cortical laminar disorganisation in two ASD cases. The present study examined the arrangement of neurons and their apical dendrites systematically throughout key regions of the cerebral cortex in ASD.

Material and methods: Formalin-fixed blocks of brain tissue (Brodmann Areas 9, 11, 17, 24, 25, 32, 36, 44, 45, 47) from nine ASD cases (mean age: 28.4 ± 6.4 years) and 12 neurologically ‘typical’ cases (mean age: 31.4 ± 4.9 years) matched for hemisphere, gender and age, were obtained with ethical approval through the Autism Tissue Program (USA). Serial sections (paraffin wax, 10 lm) immunolabelled with MAP2 and SMI-311, were assessed against defined criteria.

Results: Immunolabelling of neurons and apical dendrites varied markedly amongst control and ASD cases, and within cortical areas. Varying degrees of laminar disorganisation and excess white matter neurons were noted in some but not all ASD cases.

Conclusions: The clinical heterogeneity of ASD is reflected by these heterogeneous neuropathological findings. There is a need to establish more definitive sub-criteria for selection of ASD cases, as these impacts directly on interpretation of neuropathological findings in ASD.

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