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Open AccessArticle

de novo Blood Biomarkers in Autism: Autoantibodies against Neuronal and Glial Proteins

1
Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
2
Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
3
Hyperbaric Division, Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
4
Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania, 80138 Naples, Italy
5
Biomedical Center for Autism Research and Treatment, 70124 Bari, Italy
6
Faculty of Science, Menofia University, Shebien El-Koom 32615, Egypt
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs9050047
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 29 April 2019
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; control children; neuronal autoantibodies; autoimmune disorder; maternal autoantibodies; neuronal and astroglial biomarkers autism spectrum disorder; control children; neuronal autoantibodies; autoimmune disorder; maternal autoantibodies; neuronal and astroglial biomarkers
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Abou-Donia, M.B.; Suliman, H.B.; Siniscalco, D.; Antonucci, N.; ElKafrawy, P.; Brahmajothi, M.V. de novo Blood Biomarkers in Autism: Autoantibodies against Neuronal and Glial Proteins. Behav. Sci. 2019, 9, 47.

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