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Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 61, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Cytokine Profile in Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children

  • Vesna Bryn
  • Hans Christian Dalsbotten Aass
  • Ola H. Skjeldal
  • Jørn Isaksen
  • Ola Didrik Saugstad
  • Heidi Ormstad
Article

Abstract

The pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is not completely understood, but there is evidence of associations with altered immune responses. The aim of this study was to determine the serum levels of various cytokines in children with ASD and in healthy controls, in order to determine their role in ASD and its diagnostic subgroups. Sixty-five ASD patients were enrolled from an epidemiological survey in Norway, of which 30 were diagnosed with childhood autism, 16 with Asperger syndrome, 12 with atypical autism, 1 with Rett syndrome, and 6 with another ASD diagnosis. The serum levels of 12 cytokines were measured in all of the patients and in 30 healthy children. The cytokine levels did not differ significantly between the ASD group and the healthy controls. However, the interleukin-8 (IL-8) level was significantly higher (6.82 vs 4.58 pg/ml, p = 0.017) while that of IL-10 was significantly lower (2.24 vs 6.49 pg/ml, p = 0.009) in patients with childhood autism than in controls. Furthermore, the IL-8 level was significantly higher in childhood autism than in Asperger syndrome (6.82 vs 4.05 pg/ml, p = 0.013). Our study shows that the cytokine profile of children diagnosed with ASD, regardless of the subdiagnosis, does not differ from healthy controls. However, differentiation into different diagnostic subgroups reveals significantly different levels of IL-8 and IL-10. This indicates that different mechanisms may underlie the different ASD subdiagnoses. Future research into the pathophysiological mechanisms of ASD should pay more attention to the different subdiagnoses of ASD.

Keywords

Cytokine profile Autism spectrum disorders 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of pediatrician Pernille Tryli, diagnostic teams at the Departments of Habilitation at Lillehammer and Ottestad, and laboratory personnel in the hospitals at Lillehammer, Gjøvik, and Elverum. The study was supported by Innlandet Hospital research foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Written statements of informed consent were obtained from the parents before any child (ASD or control) was included in the project. The regional Committee for Research Ethics (REK) provided approval for the study to be performed.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsInnlandet Hospital TrustLillehammerNorway
  2. 2.Department of Medical BiochemistryOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  3. 3.Gillberg Neuropsychiatry CentreUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Department of HabilitationInnlandet Hospital TrustLillehammerNorway
  5. 5.Pediatric Research Institute, RikshospitaletOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  6. 6.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity College of Southeast NorwayDrammenNorway

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