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Neurobiol Dis. 2008 Jun;30(3):303-11. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2008.01.012. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

Immune transcriptome alterations in the temporal cortex of subjects with autism.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203 USA.


Autism is a severe disorder that involves both genetic and environmental factors. Expression profiling of the superior temporal gyrus of six autistic subjects and matched controls revealed increased transcript levels of many immune system-related genes. We also noticed changes in transcripts related to cell communication, differentiation, cell cycle regulation and chaperone systems. Critical expression changes were confirmed by qPCR (BCL6, CHI3L1, CYR61, IFI16, IFITM3, MAP2K3, PTDSR, RFX4, SPP1, RELN, NOTCH2, RIT1, SFN, GADD45B, HSPA6, HSPB8 and SERPINH1). Overall, these expression patterns appear to be more associated with the late recovery phase of autoimmune brain disorders, than with the innate immune response characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, a variance-based analysis revealed much greater transcript variability in brains from autistic subjects compared to the control group, suggesting that these genes may represent autism susceptibility genes and should be assessed in follow-up genetic studies.

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