Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are the most common neurodevelopmental disorders with unidentified etiology. The behavioral manifestations of ASD may be a consequence of genetic and/or environmental pathology in neurodevelopmental processes. In this limited study, we assayed autoantibodies to a panel of vital neuronal and glial proteins in the sera of 40 subjects (10 children with ASD and their mothers along with 10 healthy controls, age-matched children and their mothers). Serum samples were screened using Western Blot analysis to measure immunoglobulin (IgG) reactivity against a panel of 9 neuronal proteins commonly associated with neuronal degeneration: neurofilament triplet proteins (NFP), tubulin, microtubule-associated proteins (tau), microtubule-associated protein-2 (MAP-2), myelin basic protein (MBP), myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG), α-synuclein (SNCA) and astrocytes proteins such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S100B protein. Our data show that the levels of circulating IgG class autoantibodies against the nine proteins were significantly elevated in ASD children. Mothers of ASD children exhibited increased levels of autoantibodies against all panel of tested proteins except for S100B and tubulin compared to age-matched healthy control children and their mothers. Control children and their mothers showed low and insignificant levels of autoantibodies to neuronal and glial proteins. These results strongly support the importance of anti-neuronal and glial protein autoantibodies biomarker in screening for ASD children and further confirm the importance of the involvement of the maternal immune system as an index that should be considered in fetal in utero
environmental exposures. More studies are needed using larger cohort to verify these results and understand the importance of the presence of such autoantibodies in children with autism and their mothers, both as biomarkers and their role in the mechanism of action of autism and perhaps in its treatment.
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