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Int J Mol Cell Med. 2017 Summer;6(3):148-155. doi: 10.22088/acadpub.BUMS.6.3.148. Epub 2017 Sep 26.

Neuroinflammation in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Role of High Mobility Group Box 1 Protein.

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Department of Adult and Childhood Human Pathology, Unit of Pediatrics, University Hospital of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Department of Pediatrics, Hospital Umberto I of Siracusa, Siracusa, Italy.


The pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) likely involves genetic and environmental factors, impacting the complex neurodevelopmental and behavioral abnormalities of the disorder. Scientific research studies emerging within the past two decades suggest that immune dysfunction and inflammation have pathogenic influences through different mechanisms, all leading to both a chronic state of low grade inflammation, and alterations in the central nervous system and immune response, respectively. The high mobility group box-1 protein (HMGB1) is an inflammatory marker which has been shown to play a role in inducing and influencing neuroinflammation. Current evidences suggest a possible role in the multiple pathogenic mechanisms of ASD. The aim of this manuscript is to review the major hypothesis for ASD pathogenesis, with specific regards to the immunological ones, and to provide a comprehensive review of the current data about the association between HMGB1 and ASD. A systematic search has been carried out through Medline via Pubmed to identify all original articles published in English, on the basis of the following keywords: "HMGB1", "autism", "autism spectrum disorder", "neuroinflammation", and "child".


Autism spectrum disorder; high mobility group box-1; immunity; marker; neuroinflammation

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The authors declared no conflict of interest.

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