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J Neuroimmunol. 2009 Mar 31;208(1-2):130-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2008.12.012. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Preliminary evidence of the in vitro effects of BDE-47 on innate immune responses in children with autism spectrum disorders.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental disorders that manifest in childhood. Immune dysregulation and autoimmune reactivity may contribute to the etiology of ASD and are likely the result of both genetic and environmental susceptibilities. A common environmental contaminant, 2,2',4,4'-tetrabrominated biphenyl (BDE-47), was tested for differential effects on the immune response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated from children with ASD (n=19) and age-matched typically developing controls (TD, n=18). PBMC were exposed in vitro to either 100 nM or 500 nM BDE-47, before challenge with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an innate immune activator, with resultant cytokine production measured using the Luminex multiplex platform. The cytokine responses of LPS stimulated PBMC from ASD and TD subjects diverged in the presence of 100 nM BDE. For example, cells cultured from the TD group demonstrated significantly decreased levels of the cytokines IL-12p40, GM-CSF, IL-6, TNFalpha, and the chemokines MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta following LPS stimulation of PBMC pretreated with 100 nM BDE-47 compared with samples treated with vehicle control (p<0.05). In contrast, cells cultured from subjects with ASD demonstrated an increased IL-1beta response to LPS (p=0.033) when pretreated with 100 nM BDE-47 compared with vehicle control. Preincubation with 500 nM BDE-47 significantly increased the stimulated release of the inflammatory chemokine IL-8 (p<0.04) in cells cultured from subjects with ASD but not in cells from TD controls. These data suggest that in vitro exposure of PBMC to BDE-47 affects cell cytokine production in a pediatric population. Moreover, PBMC from the ASD subjects were differentially affected when compared with the TD controls suggesting a biological basis for altered sensitivity to BDE-47 in the ASD population.

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