Alteration of brain volume in IL-6 overexpressing mice related to autism

ArticleinInternational journal of developmental neuroscience: the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience 30(7):554-9 · August 2012with16 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.58 · DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2012.08.007 · Source: PubMed


    Abnormal neuroimmune responses have been reported to be associated with autism and could be appropriate targets for pharmacologic intervention. Our previous studies showed that neuroimmune factor, interleukin (IL)-6, was significantly elevated in the fontal cortex and cerebellum of autistic subjects. The IL-6 overexpressing mice displayed several autism-like features as well as an abnormal dendritic spine morphology and synaptic function. The purpose of this study was to examine the volumetric differences in the brain of IL-6 overexpressing mice and compare with corresponding control mice using magnetic resonance imaging. Here we show that IL-6 overexpressing mice display an increase in the total brain volume. In addition, the lateral ventricle is also enlarged in the IL-6 overexpressing mice. The brain structures surrounding the lateral ventricle were squeezed and deformed from the normal location. These results indicate that IL-6 elevation in the brain could mediate neuroanatomical abnormalities. Taking together with our previous findings, a mechanism by which IL-6 may be involved in the pathogenesis of autism is proposed.