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Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Oct 1;64(7):583-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.05.006. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Maternal mid-pregnancy autoantibodies to fetal brain protein: the early markers for autism study.

Author information

1
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California 94612, USA. Lisa.A.Croen@kp.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Immune dysfunction has been associated with autism, yet whether maternal immune status during pregnancy plays a causal role remains to be clarified.

METHODS:

We conducted a population-based case-control study nested within the cohort of infants born July 2000-September 2001 to women who participated in the prenatal screening program in Orange County, California. Cases (AU; n = 84) were children receiving services for autism at the Regional Center of Orange County. Two control groups were included: children with mental retardation or developmental delay (MR; n = 49) receiving services at the same regional center; and children not receiving services for developmental disabilities, randomly sampled from the California birth certificate files (GP; n = 160). Maternal autoantibody reactivity to fetal brain protein was measured by Western blot in archived mid-pregnancy blood specimens drawn during routine prenatal screening. Presence of specific bands and band patterns were compared between the three study groups.

RESULTS:

The pattern of maternal mid-gestation antibody reactivity to human fetal brain protein varied by study group and by autism onset type, although most differences did not reach statistical significance. Reactivity to a band at 39 kDa was more common among mothers of children with autism (7%) compared with mothers of MR (0%; p = .09) and GP control subjects (2%; p = .07), and simultaneous reactivity to bands at 39 kDa and 73 kDa was found only in mothers of children with early onset autism (n = 3).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings indicate that further studies of prenatal immune markers might be a productive area for etiologic and biologic marker discovery for autism.

PMID:
18571628
PMCID:
PMC2574992
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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