Microtransplantation of neurotransmitter receptors from postmortem autistic brains to Xenopus oocytes

Agenor Limon, Jorge Mauricio Reyes-Ruiz, Ricardo Miledi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Autism is a complex disorder that arises from the pervasive action of genetic and epigenetic factors that alter synaptic connectivity of the brain. Although GABA and glutamate receptors seem to be two of those factors, very little is known about the functional properties of the autistic receptors. Autistic tissue samples stored in brain banks usually have relatively long postmortem times, and it is highly desirable to know whether neurotransmitter receptors in such tissues are still functional. Here we demonstrate that native receptors microtransplanted from autistic brains, as well as de novo mRNA-expressed receptors, are still functional and susceptible to detailed electrophysiological characterization even after long postmortem intervals. The opportunity to study the properties of human receptors present in diseased brains not only opens new avenues toward understanding autism and other neurological disorders, but it also makes the microtransplantation method a useful translational system to evaluate and develop novel medicinal drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10973-10977
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 5 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • GABA receptors
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Human brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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