Feasibility and relevance of examining lymphoblastoid cell lines to study role of microRNAs in autism

Autism Res. 2008 Aug;1(4):240-50. doi: 10.1002/aur.33.


To assess the feasibility and relevance of using lymphoblastoid cell lines to study the role of noncoding RNAs in the etiology of autism, we evaluated global expression profiling of 470 mature human microRNAs from six subjects with autism compared with six matched controls. Differential expression (either higher or lower) for 9 of the 470 microRNAs was observed in our autism samples compared with controls. Potential target genes for these microRNAs were identified using computer tools, which included several autism susceptibility genes. Our preliminary results indicate microRNAs should be considered and evaluated in the etiology of autism. In addition, analysis of this class of noncoding RNAs in lymphoblastoid cells has the potential to reveal at least a subset of brain-related microRNAs implicated in autism. Subsequently, this model system should allow for detection of complex subtle changes in susceptibility genes/pathways contributing to autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor / pathology
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphoid / pathology*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger