AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Could a New Class of Fungicides Play a Role in Autism, Neurodegenerative Diseases?

A new UNC School of Medicine study shows how chemicals designed to protect crops can cause gene expression changes in mouse brain cells that look strikingly similar to changes in the brains of people with autism and Alzheimer’s disease

This study describes a new way to identify the chemicals that potentially affect the functioning of the brain. UNC School of Medicine scientists believe they have found a class of commonly used fungicides that produce a similar effect to those with autism and neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. In this study, mice were exposed to neurons to approximately 300 different chemicals. The researchers then sequenced RNA from each of these neurons to find out which ones were misregulated when compared to untreated neurons. “Based on RNA sequencing, we describe six groups of chemicals,” Zylka said. “We found that chemicals within each group altered expression in a common manner. One of these groups of chemicals altered the levels of many of the same genes that are altered in the brains of people with autism of Alzheimer’s disease.” Click here to read more.

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