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Abstract #1295

A T2 MR Study of Brain Development in a Valproic Acid Model of Autism

Loredana Sorina Truica 1 , Sarah Raza 1 , J. Keiko McCreary 1 , Ian Q. Whishaw 1 , and Robbin Gibb 1

1 Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Human neuroimaging studies have shown abnormal regulation of brain growth in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), suggesting that processes governing apoptosis and synaptic pruning are highly implicated. This study investigates brain tissue changes in the valproic acid (VPA) animal model of ASD and placental transfer of the drug. Brain and placental in vivo T2-relaxometry measurements were conducted. Results showed differences between VPA and control groups in the prefrontal cortex, suggesting that prenatal exposure to VPA altered the expected neuronal density. Placental transfer was evident in the T2 maps. This outcome supports the evidence that VPA impacts fetal development pre and post-natally.

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