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Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Feb;19(2):259-64. doi: 10.1038/mp.2012.197. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Elevated maternal C-reactive protein and autism in a national birth cohort.

Author information

1
1] Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA [2] Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.
2
1] Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA [2] Department of Child Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland [3] Department of Child Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
3
1] Department of Child Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku, Turku, Finland [2] Department of Child Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
4
Department of Biostatistics, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.
5
Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
6
National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu, Finland.

Abstract

Autism is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome with a largely unknown etiology. Inflammation during pregnancy may represent a common pathway by which infections and other insults increase risk for the disorder. Hence, we investigated the association between early gestational C-reactive protein (CRP), an established inflammatory biomarker, prospectively assayed in maternal sera, and childhood autism in a large national birth cohort with an extensive serum biobank. Other strengths of the cohort included nearly complete ascertainment of pregnancies in Finland (N=1.2 million) over the study period and national psychiatric registries consisting of virtually all treated autism cases in the population. Increasing maternal CRP levels, classified as a continuous variable, were significantly associated with autism in offspring. For maternal CRP levels in the highest quintile, compared with the lowest quintile, there was a significant, 43% elevated risk. This finding suggests that maternal inflammation may have a significant role in autism, with possible implications for identifying preventive strategies and pathogenic mechanisms in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

PMID:
23337946
PMCID:
PMC3633612
DOI:
10.1038/mp.2012.197
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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