Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 945–952

Levels of Bcl-2 and P53 Are Altered in Superior Frontal and Cerebellar Cortices of Autistic Subjects


DOI: 10.1023/B:CEMN.0000005322.27203.73

Cite this article as:
Araghi-Niknam, M. & Fatemi, S.H. Cell Mol Neurobiol (2003) 23: 945. doi:10.1023/B:CEMN.0000005322.27203.73


1.Autistic disease (AD) is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder affecting 2–4 children per 10,000. We have recently shown reduction of Bcl-2 and increase in P53, two important markers of apoptosis, in parietal cortex of autistic subjects.

2.We hypothesized that brain levels of Bcl-2 and P53 would also be altered in superior frontal cortex and cerebellum of age-, sex, and postmortem-interval (PMI)-matched autistic subjects (N = 5 autistic, N = 4 controls).

3.Brain extracts were prepared from superior frontal cortex and cerebellum and subjected to Western blotting.

4.Results showed that levels of Bcl-2 decreased by 38% and 36% in autistic superior frontal and cerebellar cortices, respectively when compared to control tissues. By the same token, levels of P53 increased by 67.5% and 38% in the same brain areas in autistic subjects vs. controls respectively. Calculations of ratios of Bcl-2/P53 values also decreased by 75% and 43% in autistic frontal and cerebellar cortices vs. controls respectively. The autistic cerebellar values were significantly reduced (p < 0.08) vs. control only. There were no significant differences in levels of β-actin between the two groups. Additionally, there were no correlations between Bcl-2, P53, and β-actin concentrations vs. age or PMI in either group.

5.These results confirm and extend previous data that levels of Bcl-2 and P53 are altered in three important brain tissues, i.e. frontal, parietal, and cerebellar cortices of autistic subjects, alluding to deranged apoptotic mechanisms in autism.

P53Bcl-2 autismsuperior frontal cortexcerebellumwestern blotting

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience ResearchUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Division of Neuroscience ResearchUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA