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J Clin Immunol. 2010 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Adaptive and Innate Immune Responses in Autism: Rationale for Therapeutic Use of Intravenous Immunoglobulin.

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  • 1Division of Basic and Clinical Immunology, Medical Sciences I, C-240, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA, 92697, USA, sgupta@uci.edu.


BACKGROUND: Autism is a complex polygenic neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in communication and social interactions as well as specific stereotypical behaviors. Both genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute to the pathogenesis of autism. Accumulating data including changes in immune responses, linkage to major histocompatibility complex antigens, and the presence of autoantibodies to neural tissues/antigens suggest that the immune system plays an important role in its pathogenesis. In this brief review, we discuss the data regarding changes in both innate and adaptive immunity in autism and the evidence in favor of the role of the immune system, especially of maternal autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of a subset of patients with autism. The rationale for possible therapeutic use of intravenous immunoglobulin is also discussed.

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