Autism and Epilepsy
Gregory Neal Barnes
Department of Neurology and Pediatrics
1222, Vanderbilt Stallworth Hospital
Autism and epilepsy are common childhood neurological disorders with a great heterogeneity of clinical phenotypes as well as risk factors. There is a high co-morbidity of autism and epilepsy but the molecular underpinnings of this overlap are unclear. The neuropathology of autism and epilepsy has distinctly similar histology implicating the processes of neurogenesis, neural migration, programmed cell death, and neurite outgrowth. Genetic advances have identified multiple molecules that participate in neural development, brain network connectivity, and synaptic function which could be involved in the pathogenesis of autism including the guidance system Semaphorin 3F-Neuropilin 2 signaling. Dr Barnes’ clinical and basic science research program investigates the genomic determinants of behavior and cognition in human and animal models of autism and epilepsy. The long term goals of this research is to conduct studies in models of autism and epilepsy to aid in the identification of therapeutic drug targets to ameliorate the burden of neurologic disease in these children. Those students with backgrounds or interests in biological basis of behavior and cognition, molecular biology, anatomy/histology, and epilepsy are encouraged to apply.
1. Yang, J., Houk, B, Shah, J.P., Hauser, K.F., Luo, Y.L, Smith, G.M., Schauwecker, P.E., and Barnes, G.N. (2005) Genetic Background Regulates Semaphorin Gene Expression and Epileptogenesis in Mouse Brain after Kainic Acid Status Epilepticus, Neuroscience 131 (4): 853-969
2. JA Paolicchi and G.N. Barnes (2008) Neuropsychiatric Comorbidities in Childhood Absence Epilepsy, Nature Clinical Practice Neurology, 4(12):650-1.
3. Gant, J. C., Thibault, O., Blalock, E. M., J. Yang, A. Bachstetter, J. Kotick, P.E. Schauwecker, K.F. Hauser, G.M. Smith, Mervis, R., and G. N. Barnes (2009) Decreased Number of Interneurons and Increased Seizures in Neuropilin 2 Deficient Mice: Implications for Autism and Epilepsy, Epilepsia, 50(4):629-45.
4. G.N Barnes (2009) Postnatal Influences on Seizure Susceptibility: Does My Mother Really Matter? Epilepsy Currents Nov/Dec 2009, 9(6):176-8.
5. Perdigoto, A.L., Chaudry, N., Filbin, M.T., Barnes, G.N., and Carter, B.D. (2011) A Novel Role for PTEN in the Inhibition of Neurite Outgrowth by Myelin-associated Glycoprotein in Cortical Neurons, Mol. Cell. Neurosci., 46(1):235-44.