Introduction With escalating prevalence over the past 3 decades and increasing cost of care, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) represent a major public health concern. Despite the ongoing extensive research, no specific pathophysiological pathway has been universally accepted. However, converging evidence sheds the light on the important role of immunologic dysfunction in ASD.
Objectives To our knowledge, this is the first study to analyse levels of selected chemokines (monocyte chemotactic protein [MCP]-1, macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP]-1α and regulated upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted [RANTES]) in maternal amniotic fluid of individuals diagnosed with ASD later in life and controls.
Methods We adopted a case-control study design utilising Danish nation-wide health registers and a historic birth cohort (HBC) kept and maintained at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen. 414 Cases and 820 controls were retrieved from the HBC. Chemokines measurements were performed using Luminex xMAP technology. Case-control differences in biomarker levels were assessed as continuous measures (Tobit Censored regression models) or dichotomised at below the 10th percentile or above the 90th percentile cutpoints derived from control biomarker distributions (logistic regression).
Results and Conclusion We found no significant overall difference in the pattern of the analysed amniotic fluid chemokines in ASD cases compared to controls. However, females tend to show a different chemokine pattern compared to males, especially for MIP-1α, but with no statistical significance (Elevated 90th percentile OR=2.24 [95% CI 0.90 to 5.59]). Larger-scale studies with more sensitive assays are needed to investigate the role of chemokines and other cytokines in ASD.
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