Genetic and immunologic considerations in autism

Elena Korvatska, Judith A Van de Water, Thomas F. Anders, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


According to recent epidemiological surveys, autistic spectrum disorders have become recognized as common childhood psychopathologies. These life-lasting conditions demonstrate a strong genetic determinant consistent with a polygenic mode of inheritance for which several autism susceptibility regions have been identified. Parallel evidence of immune abnormalities in autistic patients argues for an implication of the immune system in pathogenesis. This review summarizes advances in the molecular genetics of autism, as well as recently emerging concerns addressing the disease incidence and triggering factors. The neurochemical and immunologic findings are analyzed in the context of a neuroimmune hypothesis for autism. Studies of disorders with established neuroimmune nature indicate multiple pathways of the pathogenesis; herein, we discuss evidence of similar phenomena in autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-125
Number of pages19
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Autism
  • Autoimmunity
  • Multigenic traits
  • Neuroimmune pathology
  • Viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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