Mental Health

Autism spectrum disorder and co-morbidity

The Role of the Immune System in Autism Spectrum Disorder |  Neuropsychopharmacology
Source: Nature

ASD is a highly heterogeneous disease, likely with multiple underlying causes ranging from genetic to environmental factors, especially those affecting the development of prenatal and early life. In ASD physiopathology, congenital diseases, maternal immune activation and transplacental antibodies potentially play a significant role. In addition, ASD has been associated with abnormal immune function, including dysregulation of cytokines, inflammation, and autoantibody presence. In ASD patients, multiple studies have confirmed the existence of anti-brain immunoglobulins. The status of ASD may also be directly associated with the cytokine and chemokine levels of patients, leading to the persistent pro-inflammatory environment found in their organism.

Co-occurring medical problems are shared by a significant number of ASD patients. In these patients, as well as other neuropsychiatric disorders, such as intellectual disability, sleep issues, anxiety, irritability, language and motor impairments, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA) is commonly present. In 47 percent of people with ASD, gastrointestinal symptoms are seen. In autistic patients, epilepsy has a reported prevalence of 8–6 percent. When evaluating the role of chronic neuroinflammation in these patients, the variety of other clinical conditions that typically also affect the immune system should be considered.

The notion of persistent CNS inflammation among ASD patients and its role in the outcome of neurodevelopment has been gaining growing credibility. Glial cell proliferation and subsequent release of multiple pro-inflammatory mediators, especially cytokines and chemokines, result in irregular immune profiles and impaired cognitive function and neural signaling. In ASD, immune system dysregulation identifies abnormal innate and adaptive responses to immunity. Natural Killer (NK) cells from people with ASD have higher resting but decreased activated cytolytic activity, leading to an impaired response and excessive baseline level of activity following injury stimuli.

Source : Nature (

Categories: Mental Health