Utilization of Lymphoblastoid Cell Lines as a System for the Molecular Modeling of Autism
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In order to provide an alternative approach for understanding the biology and genetics of autism, we performed statistical analysis of gene expression profiles of lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from children with autism and their families. The goal was to assess the feasibility of using this model in identifying autism-associated genes. Replicate microarray experiments demonstrated that expression data from the cell lines were consistent and highly reproducible. Further analyses identified differentially expressed genes between cell lines derived from children with autism and those derived from their normally developing siblings. These genes were then used to identify biochemical pathways potentially involved in autism. This study suggests that lymphoblastoid cell lines may be a viable tool for identifying genes associated with autism.