Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1403–1410

The Expression of Caspases is Enhanced in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Autism Spectrum Disorder Patients

  • Dario Siniscalco
  • Anna Sapone
  • Catia Giordano
  • Alessandra Cirillo
  • Vito de Novellis
  • Laura de Magistris
  • Francesco Rossi
  • Alessio Fasano
  • Sabatino Maione
  • Nicola Antonucci
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1373-z

Cite this article as:
Siniscalco, D., Sapone, A., Giordano, C. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 1403. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1373-z

Abstract

Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are heterogeneous complex neuro-developmental disorders characterized by dysfunctions in social interaction and communication skills. Their pathogenesis has been linked to interactions between genes and environmental factors. Consistent with the evidence of certain similarities between immune cells and neurons, autistic children also show an altered immune response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). In this study, we investigated the activation of caspases, cysteinyl aspartate-specific proteases involved in apoptosis and several other cell functions in PBMCs from 15 ASD children compared to age-matched normal healthy developing controls. The mRNA levels for caspase-1, -2, -4, -5 were significantly increased in ASD children as compared to healthy subjects. Protein levels of Caspase-3, -7, -12 were also increased in ASD patients. Our data are suggestive of a possible role of the capsase pathway in ASD clinical outcome and of the use of caspase as potential diagnostic and/or therapeutic tools in ASD management.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disordersCaspasesGene expressionPBMCs

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dario Siniscalco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anna Sapone
    • 3
    • 4
  • Catia Giordano
    • 1
  • Alessandra Cirillo
    • 5
  • Vito de Novellis
    • 1
  • Laura de Magistris
    • 3
  • Francesco Rossi
    • 1
  • Alessio Fasano
    • 4
  • Sabatino Maione
    • 1
  • Nicola Antonucci
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Medicine, Division of PharmacologySecond University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  2. 2.Centre for Autism—La Forza Del SilenzioNaples, CasertaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Internal and Experimental Medicine “Magrassi-Lanzara”Second University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  4. 4.Center for Celiac Research and Mucosal Biology Research CenterUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Department of Experimental Medicine, Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology “A. Cascino”Second University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  6. 6.Biomedical Centre for Autism Research and TreatmentBariItaly