NYMC Faculty Publications


Autistic Traits in Epilepsy Models: Why, When and How?

Document Type


Publication Date

August 2018


Cell Biology and Anatomy


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common comorbidity of epilepsy and seizures and/or epileptiform activity are observed in a significant proportion of ASD patients. Current research also implies that autistic traits can be observed to a various degree in mice and rats with seizures. This suggests that there are shared mechanisms in both ASD and epilepsy syndromes. Here, we first review the standard, validated methods used to assess autistic traits in animal models as well as their limitations with regards to epilepsy models. We then discuss two of the potential pathological processes that could be shared between ASD and epilepsy. We first focus on functional implications of neuroinflammation including changes to excitable networks mediated by inflammatory regulators. Finally we examine mechanisms at the cellular and network level involved in neuronal excitability, timing and network coordination that may directly lead to behavioral disturbances present in both epilepsy and ASD. This mini-review summarizes the work first presented at an Investigators Workshop at the 2016 American Epilepsy Society meeting.