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Circulating antibodies to neural and glial proteins in the serum of autistic individuals and their genetically related non-autistic siblings.

  • Psychology
  • Psychobiology.
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine


Autoimmunity may play a role in the pathology of autism. Previous studies have made comparisons between autistic individuals and genetically unrelated control subjects. These studies have provided useful information to support the autoimmune hypothesis. It is important, however, to analyze possible autoimmune responses in autistic patients and their genetically related non-autistic siblings. These comparisons are needed because environmental and genetic variables may contribute to the development of autoimmune responses. Moreover, if circulating autoantibodies to neural and glial proteins do contribute to pathology in the brains of autistic individuals, it should be possible to demonstrate that these antibodies bind to neural or glial proteins in vitro. The present study was performed to answer the following questions: First, do circulating antibodies to brain/somatic proteins exist in the serum of siblings, one of whom has been diagnosed with autism? Second, do differences exist in autoimmune reactions to brain somatic proteins in autistic and non-autistic siblings? Third, do circulating antibodies in the serum of these autistic and non-autistic siblings recognize and bind to neural proteins in situ? PAGE-SDS electrophoresis with subsequent Western blot experiments were performed to evaluate the presence of immune reactions to brain and somatic proteins in autistic individuals, genetically-related non-autistic siblings, and normal individuals. Results demonstrate that immunoglobulins to neural and somatic proteins exist in the serum of autistic individuals, as well as genetically related non-autistic siblings and normal individuals. Antibody reactions to specific brain proteins were higher in the serum of autistic individuals, as compared to genetically related non-autistic siblings. Immunohistochemical studies were performed to determine whether or not

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