open access

Ahead of Print
Original article
Submitted: 2020-11-06
Accepted: 2020-12-01
Published online: 2021-09-28
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Brainstem motor neuron dysmorphology and excitatory/inhibitory imbalance in an animal model of autism

H. Alhelo1, R. J. Kulesza1
DOI: 10.5603/FM.a2021.0098
·
Pubmed: 34590296
Affiliations
  1. Department of Anatomy, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, PA, United States

open access

Ahead of Print
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Submitted: 2020-11-06
Accepted: 2020-12-01
Published online: 2021-09-28

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder associated with in utero exposure to the antiepileptic valproic acid (VPA) in humans, and similar exposure serves as a validated animal model. Animals exposed to VPA in utero have a number of structural, function and behavioral deficits associated with ASD. Furthermore, VPA-exposed animals have shorter body lengths, lower body and brain weights. This difference in body weight may result from impaired caloric intake due to impaired oropharyngeal function. Specifically, it is hypothesized that in utero VPA exposure results in fewer lower motor neurons associated with feeding behaviors, that surviving neurons will exhibit dysmorphology and altered balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs. Further, it is hypothesized that VPA exposure will result in altered oropharyngeal musculature that will impact skull morphology. These hypotheses were investigated using quantitative morphometrics and immunofluorescence. Results support dysmorphology and excitatory/inhibitory imbalance and these alterations may contribute to dysphagia and poor weight gain in VPA-exposed animals.

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder associated with in utero exposure to the antiepileptic valproic acid (VPA) in humans, and similar exposure serves as a validated animal model. Animals exposed to VPA in utero have a number of structural, function and behavioral deficits associated with ASD. Furthermore, VPA-exposed animals have shorter body lengths, lower body and brain weights. This difference in body weight may result from impaired caloric intake due to impaired oropharyngeal function. Specifically, it is hypothesized that in utero VPA exposure results in fewer lower motor neurons associated with feeding behaviors, that surviving neurons will exhibit dysmorphology and altered balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs. Further, it is hypothesized that VPA exposure will result in altered oropharyngeal musculature that will impact skull morphology. These hypotheses were investigated using quantitative morphometrics and immunofluorescence. Results support dysmorphology and excitatory/inhibitory imbalance and these alterations may contribute to dysphagia and poor weight gain in VPA-exposed animals.

Get Citation

Keywords

trigeminal, vagus, swallowing

About this article
Title

Brainstem motor neuron dysmorphology and excitatory/inhibitory imbalance in an animal model of autism

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Ahead of Print

Article type

Original article

Published online

2021-09-28

DOI

10.5603/FM.a2021.0098

Pubmed

34590296

Keywords

trigeminal
vagus
swallowing

Authors

H. Alhelo
R. J. Kulesza

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