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

Mohsen Araghi-Niknam, S H Fatemi

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100 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-952
Number of pages8
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


  • Bcl-2 autism
  • Cerebellum
  • P53
  • Superior frontal cortex
  • Western blotting


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