Decreased transforming growth factor beta1 in autism: A potential link between immune dysregulation and impairment in clinical behavioral outcomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

153 Scopus citations

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairment in social interactions, communication deficits, and restricted repetitive interests and behaviors. There is evidence of both immune dysregulation and autoimmune phenomena in autism. We examined the regulatory cytokine transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGFβ1) because of its role in controlling immune responses. Plasma levels of active TGFβ1 were evaluated in 75 children with ASD compared with 68 controls. Children with ASD had significantly lower plasma TGFβ1 levels compared with typically developing controls (p = 0.0017) and compared with children with developmental disabilities other than ASD (p = 0.0037), after adjusting for age and gender. In addition, there were significant correlations between psychological measures and TGFβ1 levels, such that lower TGFβ1 levels were associated with lower adaptive behaviors and worse behavioral symptoms. The data suggest that immune responses in autism may be inappropriately regulated due to reductions in TGFβ1. Such immune dysregulation may predispose to the development of possible autoimmune responses and/or adverse neuroimmune interactions during critical windows in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Volume204
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2008

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Behavior
  • Immunity
  • Regulation
  • Transforming growth factor beta1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Neurology

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