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Metab Brain Dis. 2016 Oct;31(5):1047-54. doi: 10.1007/s11011-016-9836-8. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

The positive association between elevated blood lead levels and brain-specific autoantibodies in autistic children from low lead-polluted areas.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. gehan.mostafa2000@yahoo.com.
2
Department of Physiology, Autism Research and Treatment Center, AL-Amodi Autism Research Chair, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. gehan.mostafa2000@yahoo.com.
3
Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Mo i Rana, Norway.
4
Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile.
5
Department of Physiology, Autism Research and Treatment Center, AL-Amodi Autism Research Chair, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

The underlying pathogenic mechanism in autoimmune disorders is the formation of autoantibodies. In children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it has been documented increased levels of brain-specific autoantibodies. Furthermore, lead (Pb) has been identified as one of the main neurotoxicants acting as environmental triggers for ASD as it induces neuroinflammation and autoimmunity. The present study is the first to explore a potential relationship between the levels of blood lead (BPb) and seropositivity of anti-ribosomal P protein antibodies in ASD children. Levels of BPb and serum anti-ribosomal P protein antibodies were measured in 60 children with ASD and 60 healthy control matched children, aged between 5 and 12 years, recruited from low Pb-polluted areas. The levels of BPb were significantly higher in ASD children than in healthy control children (P < 0.001). Patients with ASD had significantly higher frequency of increased BPb levels ≥10 μg/dL (43.3 %) than healthy control children (13.3 %; P < 0.001). There were significant and positive correlations between the levels of BPb, and the values of Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) (P < 0.01) and IQ in children with ASD (P < 0.001). Patients with ASD showing increased levels of BPb had significantly higher frequency of seropositivity of anti-ribosomal P antibodies (92.3 %) than patients with normal BPb levels (32.3 %; P < 0.001). The findings of the present study suggest that increased levels of BPb in some children with ASD may trigger the production of serum anti-ribosomal P antibodies. Further research is warranted to determine if the production of brain autoantibodies is triggered by environmental Pb exposure in children with ASD. The possible therapeutic role of Pb chelators in ASD children should also be studied.

KEYWORDS:

Anti-ribosomal P protein antibodies; Autism; Autoimmunity; Blood lead; Cognitive function

PMID:
27250967
DOI:
10.1007/s11011-016-9836-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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