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Data integration to identify biological markers of neurodevelopmental disorders

Grant number: 18/18560-6
Support type:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: October 01, 2019 - September 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Principal researcher:Helena Paula Brentani
Grantee:Helena Paula Brentani
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Pesquisadores principais:
Carlos Alberto de Bragança Pereira ; David Corrêa Martins Junior
Assoc. researchers:Alexandra Valéria Maria Brentani ; ALOISIO SOUZA FELIPE DA SILVA ; Eurípedes Constantino Miguel Filho ; GISELE RODRIGUES GOUVEIA ; Guilherme Vanoni Polanczyk ; Ricardo Zorzetto Nicoliello Vêncio ; Rossana Pulcineli Vieira Francisco ; Sandra Josefina Ferraz Ellero Grisi
Associated scholarship(s):21/00485-0 - Placental gene expression and prenatal stress exposure data integration, BP.DD
21/00607-9 - Em estudo piloto usando uma amostra de 100 crianças da coorte (ROC), buscamos componentes principais (PC) a partir de diferentes medidas de exposição materna ao estresse gestacional, BP.PD
20/16376-3 - Determination of polygenic risk to characterize exposure to gestational stress, BP.DD
+ associated scholarships 20/15590-1 - Polygenic risk scores and epigenetic risk markers data integration for neurodevelopment prediction from children in psychosocial vulnerability situations, BP.PD
21/00230-2 - Evaluation of placental exosomes of pregnants from a randomized clinical trial to test an intensive home visit program effectiveness, BP.IC
20/15382-0 - Telomere length evaluation of pregnant women from a randomized clinical trial to test the effectiveness of an intensive home visit program, BP.IC
20/10217-0 - Biological sample collection, processing, storage and transport for Modules I and II subprojects of the Thematic Project, BP.TT
20/14360-2 - Evaluation of the OGT protein expression level in placenta tissues in relation to the embryo sex, BP.IC
20/02766-4 - Biological sample collection, processing, storage and transport for modules I and II subprojects of the thematic project, BP.TT - associated scholarships


Neurodevelopmental disorders are polygenic and multifactorial. Besides the genetic component, evidences from animal and human studies indicate that environmental adversities and / or psychosocial stresses experienced early in life can trigger epigenetic changes that may influence brain plasticity, neural circuit connectivity and functioning. These changes may affect the adequate development of cognitive functions, emotional reactivity and sociability, increasing the risk for presenting neurodevelopmental disorders. The crucial role of the epigenetic machinery in the biological incorporation of exposure to stress in early life has been demonstrated in several animal models. These were exposed to different prenatal and / or postnatal stresses such as nutrition, drugs, inadequate maternal care, separation of the mother-child binomial and social enrichment / isolation, suggesting epigenetic molecular markers of risk. However, most of these studies are performed with exposure to specific environmental factors, such as nicotine use during pregnancy. That is, these studies disregard that an individual is normally exposed to several environmental stressors and that each individual responds individually to them. Another important point is that the sexes respond differently to stress exposure, thus adding an additional level of variability to the possible neurodevelopmental trajectories. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) have contributed to a better understanding of these disorders, but these only consider the effect of genetic variations. It is necessary to search for methods to integrate PRSs with epigenetic risk markers, sex of the concept and the temporal effect of exposure to different types of stress to identify susceptibility markers associated with risk phenotypes for neurodevelopmental disorders. This project proposes a multidisciplinary approach using Systemic Biology tools and machine learning to integrate complex data, that is, of different natures. Specifically, we aim to achieve the following objectives: 1) to integrate environmental exposure data, and show that a multivariate stress construct approach is associated with individual biomarkers of stress reactivity by improving the prediction of phenotypes associated with neurodevelopmental trajectories; 2) to integrate data of gene expression, epigenetics, sex of the concept and environmental exposure to develop a biological model to explain differences in susceptibility between sexes for neurodevelopmental disorders; 3) to integrate polygenic risk scores data with environmental exposure and epigenetic molecular markers of risk to characterize genomic areas, that could be evaluated improving the prediction of phenotypes associated with neurodevelopmental trajectories. The completion of these objectives will provide new methodologies for complex data integration, molecular targeting and identification of potential preventive measures related to the development of neurodevelopmental disorders. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DUARTE, RODRIGO R. R.; BRENTANI, HELENA; POWELL, TIMOTHY R.. Ditching candidate gene association studies: lessons from psychiatric genetics. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, v. 43, n. 3, p. 342-344, . (18/18560-6)

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