Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Cellular Immunology Laboratory


Eunkyue Park, PhD, Head

[email protected]

The focus of the Cellular Immunology Laboratory is on understanding of the critical physiological roles of taurine, including development of the brain and eye, and reproduction and immune function as well as the role of taurine in the pathogenesis of developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To elucidate these important physiological and pathological roles of taurine, we developed a taurine-deficient mouse by using gene targeting techniques. Our laboratory has also demonstrated that taurine protects oxidant-induced pulmonary injury and that a metabolite of taurine, taurine chloramine, can down-regulate the production of proinflammatory mediators, leading to a significant reduction in the immune response. 

The laboratory is conducting the following studies:

  • Characterization of a taurine-deficient mouse: To fully understand the function(s) of taurine in essential biological processes, taurine knockout mice are desirable, because the taurine levels of knockout mice can be easily manipulated by eating a specially formulated diet or drinking water containing taurine. Immune function and reproduction performance have been studied in taurine-deficient mice. Autistic behaviors, including impaired social interaction, anxiety, and repetitive behavior, have been examined for brain development in taurine-deficient mice.
  • Development of a maternal immune activation (MIA) animal model: We are currently developing an MIA animal model of the pathogenesis of ASD by using pregnant taurine-deficient mice. MIA is induced in these mice by intraperitoneal injection of ds-polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid at gestational day 12.5, which simulates maternal ds-RNA infection during pregnancy. After autistic behaviors are examined in the MIA mice, we will attempt to improve these behaviors in the mice by supplementation of anti-inflammatory taurine in the drinking water. 

A complete list of Dr. Park’s published work may be found at the NCBI Collections website.