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Invest Clin. 2009 Sep;50(3):393-406.

[Immunogenetic aspects of autism. Review].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Unidad de Genética Médica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela.


Autism is a generalized or pervasive developmental disorder that affects about five in ten thousand children worldwide (5/10.000). In Maracaibo the incidence is 1.1/1000, with a ratio of male/female, 4:1. The autistic disorder is defined entirely based on the impairment in three areas: 1) Impairment of social interaction, 2) Impairment in communication and 3) Stereotyped and repetitive behavior. Autism is a disorder with a large genetic component and a oligogenic inheritance model has been proposed. Quantitative and qualitative disturbances of certain components of the immune system in patients with autism have been used as endophenotype, one of the strategies used to identify candidate genes for susceptibility to autism. On the other hand the hypersensitivity to specific groups of foods such as casein and gluten has become clear, which has led to the postulation of immunogenetics theories in autism, which mainly involve genes of the histocompatibility major complex. Although it has not been confirmed that immunogenetics factors could be involved in the etiopathogenesis of autism, several studies have shown the influence of the complex Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) HLA DR4, DR13, DR11, A2 and others genes in the clinical status, risk and therapeutic response of some psychiatric disorders. The lack of literature demands a greater number of studies related to different ethnic groups and the participation of HLA, as well as the importance of this complex in the pathogenesis of psychiatric illness.

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