Heparan sulfate deficiency in autistic postmortem brain tissue from the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles Brandon L.
Brandon L. Pearson, Michael J. Corley, Amy Vasconcellos, D. Caroline Blanchard, and Robert J. Blanchard
Behavioural Brain Research
Abnormal cellular growth and organization have been characterized in postmortem tissue from brains of autistic individuals, suggestive of pathology in a critical neurogenic niche, the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the brain lateral ventricles (LV). We examined cellular organization, cell proliferation, and constituents of the extracellular matrix such as N-sulfated heparan sulfate (HS) and laminin (LAM) in postmortem brain tissue from the LV-SVZ of young to elderly individuals with autism (n = 4) and age-matched typically developing (TD) individuals (n = 4) using immunofluorescence techniques. Strong and systematic reductions in HS immunofluorescence were observed in the LV-SVZ of the TD individuals with increasing age. For young through mature, but not elderly, autistic pair members, HS was reduced compared to their matched TDs. Cellular proliferation (Ki67+) was higher in the autistic individual of the youngest age-matched pair. These preliminary data suggesting that HS may be reduced in young to mature autistic individuals are in agreement with previous findings from the BTBR T+tf/J mouse, an animal model of autism; from mice with genetic modifications reducing HS; and with genetic variants in HS-related genes in autism. They suggest that aberrant extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan function localized to the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles may be a biomarker for autism, and potentially involved in the etiology of the disorder.