Oxytocin during labor; infant brain activity; interleukin-1

Here is a roundup of autism-related news and research spotted around the web for the week of 12 February.

  • Oxytocin exposure during birth alters oxytocin signaling and communication in rat pups; in males, it also alters functional connectivity and empathy-like behaviors. iScience
  • Alpha activity in the brains of 1-year-old children later diagnosed with autism is related to restricted and repetitive behaviors at 2 years old, according to a preprint. Research Square
  • Mice missing the interleukin-1 receptor show autism-like behaviors and an unusually high number of synapses, suggesting the cytokine mediates microglial pruning of neuronal connections during development. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Research image of microglia.
Pruning maneuvers: Microglia missing the interleukin-1 receptor gene (bottom panels) show deficits in engulfing synaptosomes (green) compared with wildtype cells (top panels).
  • The link between pragmatic language difficulties and repetitive behaviors observed in autistic children also occurs in non-autistic children. Autism Research
  • A machine-learning strategy can distinguish patterns of neural activity for autistic versus non-autistic adults who are engaging in eye contact with another person. Scientific Reports
  • Preterm infants display altered functional connectivity that is associated with social and sensory difficulties and repetitive behaviors in an autism screen at 18 months of age. Nature Communications