Circuit-level investigation of global hypoconnectivity in the sensory neocortex of a mouse model for autism
2022 Award: $40,092
In addition to the well-known social communication difficulties, autistic patients frequently suffer from sensory processing problems, such as sensory overload. In this project, we will investigate neural circuit alterations that affect sensory responses, using a preclinical mouse model for autism. Findings in the simple mouse brain should provide a first step toward understanding circuit mechanisms underlying broad sensory symptoms in autistic patients.
Need/Problem: Atypical behavioral responses to sensory inputs, such as sensory overload and hypersensitivity, are observed in around 90% of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients, and developing treatments for this is critically needed to reduce the burden on patients and their families.
Grant Summary: To identify the circuit alterations causing sensory processing problems in ASD, we will focus on a preclinical ASD mouse model. Specifically, we will study how long-range neural connectivity affects sound responses in the auditory cortex and compare the results between healthy and diseased brains.
Goals and Projected Outcomes: This study will provide data on how neural connectivity alterations in ASD brains influence sound-evoked activities in the auditory cortex. Data derived from this study will support a future NIH proposal to investigate how long-range neural connectivity shapes sensory processing in both healthy and autistic brains.