Gene Variant Associated With Both Autism And Gastrointestinal Dysfunction

Gastrointestinal Diagram

Gastrointestinal Diagram

from ScienceDaily
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. 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.

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