Phenotypic expression of autoimmune autistic disorder (AAD): A major subset of autismVijendra K. Singh, PhD
Brain State International Research Center, Scottsdale, AZ, USA
BACKGROUND: Autism causes incapacitating neurologic problems in children that last a lifetime. The author of this article previously hypothesized that autism may be caused by autoimmunity to the brain, possibly triggered by a viral infection. This article is a summary of laboratory findings to date plus new data in support of an autoimmune pathogenesis for autism.
METHODS: Autoimmune markers were analyzed in the sera of autistic and normal children, but the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of some autistic children was also analyzed. Laboratory procedures included enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and protein immunoblotting assay.
RESULTS: Autoimmunity was demonstrated by the presence of brain autoantibodies, abnormal viral serology, brain and viral antibodies in CSF, a positive correlation between brain autoantibodies and viral serology, elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines and acute-phase reactants, and a positive response to immunotherapy. Many autistic children harbored brain myelin basic protein autoantibodies and elevated levels of antibodies to measles virus and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles might be etiologically linked to autism because measles and MMR antibodies (a viral marker) correlated positively to brain autoantibodies (an autoimmune marker)—salient features that characterize autoimmune pathology in autism. Autistic children also showed elevated levels of acute-phase reactants—a marker of systemic inflammation.
CONCLUSION: The scientific evidence is quite credible for our autoimmune hypothesis, leading to the identification of autoimmune autistic disorder (AAD) as a major subset of autism. AAD can be identified by immune tests to determine immune problems before administering immunotherapy. The author has advanced a speculative neuroautoimmune (NAI) model for autism, in which virus-induced autoimmunity is a key player. The latter should be targeted by immunotherapy to help children with autism.
KEYWORDS: autism, viruses, autoimmunity, CNS infections, immunotherapy, developmental disorders, metal allergy, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity
ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2009;21(3):148–161CORRESPONDENCE: Vijendra K. Singh, PhD, Brain State International Research Center, Brain State Technologies, 15150 N. Hayden Road, Suite 106 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 USA E-MAIL: email@example.comAnnals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2009 American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists