ASD Overlapping Pathways Found (Source: Science Daily)

imagesHCVCZHPYGene mutations are the foundation of autism, and scientists are continuously examining the structure and actions of the genes. A new study shed light on the pathways of the genes that contribute to ASD.

At the Massachusetts General Hospital, investigators were able to identify biological processes with hundreds of genes that can contribute to the risk of autism. While it was originally assumed that only a few specific genes could lead to ASD, thousands were determined and documented in public databases, where the investigators took data for the study. Using the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative Gene Database, the hospital crew found over 650 genes that related to ASD. This data led them to find two important signaling pathways that intersect.

The MAP kinase and the calcium signaling pathways were the main overlapping pathways that stood out among other metabolic and neutral pathways. These play biological roles in cellular activities.

The lead study author was Ya Wen, PHD, a researcher in the Department of Neurology at MGH and MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

“Many present treatments attempt to control or reduce particular symptoms of autism, but this study suggests that targeting core biological processes may be a more efficient strategy,” says Wen. “Addressing a core process that generates a spectrum of symptoms may give you a shot at affecting all of those symptoms at ones. This is just a first step along what we hope will be a path to better care, but it is an important one.”

“Our pathway network analysis is the first bioinformatics study in autism to connect the dots of brain and body — of autism and accompanying medical conditions, of autism and vulnerability to environmental stress — in one investigation,” Wen added.

For more information, check out the source for this blog post, Science Daily.

Written By Nichole Caropolo

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