Administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines to infant rhesus macaques does not result in autism-like behavior or neuropathology

Bharathi S. Gadad, Wenhao Li, Umar Yazdani, Stephen Grady, Trevor Johnson, Jacob Hammond, Howard Gunn, Britni Curtis, Chris English, Vernon Yutuc, Clayton Ferrier, Gene P. Sackett, C. Nathan Marti, Keith Young, Laura Hewitson, Dwight C. German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. Some anecdotal reports suggest that ASD is related to exposure to ethyl mercury, in the form of the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, and/or receiving the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. Using infant rhesus macaques receiving thimerosalcontaining vaccines (TCVs) following the recommended pediatric vaccine schedules from the 1990s and 2008, we examined behavior, and neuropathology in three brain regions found to exhibit neuropathology in postmortem ASD brains. No neuronal cellular or protein changes in the cerebellum, hippocampus, or amygdala were observed in animals following the 1990s or 2008 vaccine schedules. Analysis of social behavior in juvenile animals indicated that there were no significant differences in negative behaviors between animals in the control and experimental groups. These data indicate that administration of TCVs and/or the MMR vaccine to rhesus macaques does not result in neuropathological abnormalities, or aberrant behaviors, like those observed in ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12498-12503
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number40
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2015

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Neuropathology
  • Pediatric vaccines
  • Rhesus macaque
  • Thimerosal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Gadad, B. S., Li, W., Yazdani, U., Grady, S., Johnson, T., Hammond, J., Gunn, H., Curtis, B., English, C., Yutuc, V., Ferrier, C., Sackett, G. P., Marti, C. N., Young, K., Hewitson, L., & German, D. C. (2015). Administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines to infant rhesus macaques does not result in autism-like behavior or neuropathology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(40), 12498-12503. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1500968112