Navigation Links
Autism's origins: Mother's antibody production may affect fetal brain

The mothers of some autistic children may have made antibodies against their fetuses brain tissue during pregnancy that crossed the placenta and caused changes that led to autism, suggests research led by Johns Hopkins Childrens Center investigators and published in the February issue of the Journal of Neuroimmunology.

The causes of autism, a disorder manifesting itself with a range of brain problems and marked by impaired social interactions, communication disorders and repetitive behaviors, remain unknown for an estimated 90 percent of children diagnosed with it. Genetic, metabolic and environmental factors have been implicated in various studies of autism, a disorder affecting 1 in 150 U.S. children, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now our research suggests that the mothers immune system may be yet another factor or a trigger in those already predisposed, says lead investigator Harvey Singer, M.D., director of pediatric neurology at Hopkins Childrens.

Researchers caution that the findings neednt be cause for alarm, but should be viewed instead as a step forward in untangling the complex nature of autism.

Mostly anecdotal past evidence of immune system involvement has emerged from unusual antibody levels in some autistic children and from postmortem brain tissue studies showing immune abnormalities in areas of the brain. Antibodies are proteins the body makes in response to viruses and bacteria or sometimes mistakenly against its own tissues. Yet, the majority of children with autism have no clinical evidence of autoimmune diseases, which prompted researchers to wonder whether the antibodies transferred from mother to child during pregnancy could interfere with the fetal brain directly.

To test their hypothesis, the research team used a technique called immunoblotting (or Western blot technology), in which antibodies derived from blood samples are exposed to adult and fetal brain tissue to check whether the antibodies recognize and react against specific brain proteins.

Comparing the antibody-brain interaction in samples obtained from 100 mothers of autistic children and 100 mothers of children without autism, researchers found either stronger reactivity or more areas of reactivity between antibodies and brain proteins in about 40 percent of the samples obtained from the mothers of autistic children. Further, the presence of maternal antibodies was associated with so-called developmental regression in children, increasingly immature behaviors that are a hallmark of autism.

While the findings suggest an association between autism and the presence of fetal brain antibodies, the investigators say further studies are needed to confirm that particular antibodies do indeed cross the placenta and cause damage to the fetal brain.

The mere fact that a pregnant woman has antibodies against the fetal brain doesnt mean she will have an autistic child, Singer says. Autism is a complex condition and one that is likely caused by the interplay of immune, genetic and environmental factors.

Researchers are also studying the effect of maternal antibodies in pregnant mice. Preliminary results show that the offspring of mice injected with brain antibodies exhibit developmental and social behaviors consistent with autism.


Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related medicine news :

1. Some cases of autism may be traced to the immune system of mothers during pregnancy
2. Mothers and Youth Sports Nationwide Push for FabricAide in Response to MRSA Threat
3. Mothers stress may increase childrens asthma
4. Smoking and depression often co-occur in new mothers
5. HIV drug resistance risk in mothers reduced by combination of common drugs
6. Overweight mothers run greater risk of having hyperactive children
7. Hip size of mothers linked to breast cancer in daughters
8. Mothers Know Best: NFL Moms Team With Eddie George to Showcase a Better Way to a Healthier Lifestyle
9. FDA Warns of Codeine Risk for Some Nursing Mothers
10. Vaccine/antibody therapy effective, milder side effects in melanoma and ovarian cancer
11. EUSA Pharma Out-Licenses Preclinical-Stage Human Antibody to GlaxoSmithKline for up to $44 Million Plus Royalties
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which specializes in the delivery of ... part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , Apple Rehab participated with the ... as well as the Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP). The ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills ... specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise ... offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun ... NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is ... is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is introducing a segment ... of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted on PBS Member ... with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve in the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published ... all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... 2017 West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. ... injectable drug administration, today announced that it will release ... Thursday, October 26, 2017, and will follow with a ... at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. To participate on the ... conference ID is 94093362. ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017  NDS received ... Mobile  — a medical-grade battery-powered display stand specifically designed for ... aims to transform technology into a clinical solution to support the ... costs. Innovative Design ... NDS ZeroWire Mobile Wireless Solution ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza vaccination should ... helping communities across Massachusetts , Connecticut ... shots through the end of the month. *Some exclusions apply ... ... is by the end of October, according to the Centers for Disease ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: