Brief Report: “Allergic Symptoms” in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. More than Meets the Eye?
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Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have either family and/or personal history of “allergic symptomatology”, often in the absence of positive skin or RAST tests. These symptoms may suggest mast cell activation by non-allergic triggers. Moreover, children with mastocytosis or mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), a spectrum of rare diseases characterized by increased number of activated mast cells in many organs, appear to have ASD at a rate tenfold higher (1/10 children) than that of the general population (1/100 children). Mast cell activation by allergic, infectious, environmental and stress-related triggers, especially perinatally, would release pro-inflammatory and neurotoxic molecules. We speculate these could disrupt the gut–blood–brain barriers, thus contributing to brain inflammation and ASD pathogenesis. Increased mast cell responsiveness may define at least a subgroup of ASD subjects, who could benefit from inhibition of mast cell activation.
KeywordsAllergy Autism Brain Food intolerance Inflammation Mast cells
Aspects of research mentioned here were funded by the National Autism Association, the Safe Minds, the Autism Research Collaborative, as well as Theta Biomedical Consulting and Development Co., Inc. (Brookline, MA). Asimenia Angelidou and Konstantinos-Dionysios Alysandratos are recipients of scholarships for postgraduate studies from the Hellenic State Scholarships Foundation (Athens, Greece). Bodi Zhang is partially supported by a graduate fellowship from Galenica, SA (Athens, Greece).
Conflict of interest
TCT is on the Scientific Advisory Board of The Mastocytosis Society. TCT is also the inventor of patent application US 12/534,571 “Methods of diagnosis and treating autism” that covers a new luteolin-containing dietary supplement NeuroProtek® (www.algonot.com).
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