Inflammatory Activity in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder in early childhood characterized by impairment in communication and behavior. Recent research is focused on the immune dysregulation as a potential pathomechanism leading to ASD. Thus, we addressed the hypothesis that inflammatory activity might be enhanced in children suffering from ASD. We examined 15 children with ASD (13 boys/2 girls, mean age of 9.3 ± 0.7 years) and 20 age/gender-matched healthy subjects as a control group. All children were medication free and in good health. Hematological parameters in venous blood and plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines - tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin 1ß (IL-1ß), and interleukin 8 (IL-8) – were assessed in each subject using human ultra-sensitive ELISA kits. In addition, TBARS as a marker of oxidative stress was evaluated. We found that the level of IL-8 was significantly increased in the ASD children, whereas the other markers remained unappreciably changed compared to controls (p = 0.003). In conclusion, the study demonstrates a discrete immune dysfunction in ASD of pro-inflammatory character.
KeywordsAutism Childhood Cytokines Immune dysfunction Neurodevelopment
This work was supported by National Research Grant VEGA 1/0087/14, APVV-0254-11 and BioMed Martin (ITMS: 26220220187). The project was co-financed by the European Union.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.
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