Discipline: Chemistry and Chemical Sciences
Subcategory: Biochemistry (not Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics)
Amakia Gibson - Claflin University
Co-Author(s): Leanna Sealey, Omar Bagasra, and Arezue Boroujerdi, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC
Autism and Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD) are terms for a group of complex brain development disorders that affect about 1% of the worldwide population; however, in the United States, 1 in 68 births are affected (1.5%), a difference that could point to the advanced detection methods used in the U.S. Furthermore, the prevalence of autism and ASD in U.S. children has increased dramatically over the past decade, making it the fastest growing developmental disability. Both disorders can be caused by genetic and environmental factors; however, due to the increasing rate of occurrence, the focus of many studies has been on possible environmental causes of the disorders. Recent research has indicated that fragrances can affect brain development during the gestational period.
The goals of this study were to identify and quantify the metabolites in neuroblastoma cells, observe how these metabolites change in response to stress, and observe how these changes can contribute to autism in children. We used neuroblastoma cells to observe changes in metabolism due to the stress of an applied fragrance. Four cell lines, two male and two female, of neuroblastoma cells were cultured, extracted at 90% confluency, solvent removed, rehydrated, centrifuged, and analyzed. All cell lines were stressed with the same fragrance at femtomolar concentration and then their metabolic profiles compared to their control counterparts. Polar metabolites were extracted from the cells and analyzed using NMR spectroscopy. Of the different amino acids that were identified, four of them (alanine, aspartate, glutamate and phenylalanine) were significantly higher in concentration in both the stressed male and stressed female cell lines. Based on previously reported research done on autism disorders, similar increases in concentrations of these four amino acids have been observed in autistic children. Further research will allow for more conclusions to be drawn as to what other fragrances have the same affect.Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): US Department of Education
Faculty Advisor: Omar Bagasra, firstname.lastname@example.org