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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Autism spectrum disorder and autoimmune disease of mothers

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Diamond, Betty

Description

Description

There is an extensive body of literature indicating that a subset of mothers who have children with autism carry brain-reactive antibodies - which affect the function of brain cells. There is a smaller, but quite compelling, body of literature indicating that these maternal antibodies can alter fetal brain development and subsequent behavior in the offspring if given intravenously to a gestating mouse or monkey. Betty Diamond and Peter Gregersen propose that women who carry these antibodies have a higher number of autoimmunity susceptibility genes compared with controls. The maternal brain is protected from antibody-mediated damage by the blood-brain barrier, whereas the fetal brain is exposed to all maternal antibodies. If brain-reactive antibodies of the mother can lead to autism spectrum disorders in the offspring, then approximately 15 to 20 percent of autism cases could be explained by this mechanism. In support of the researchers' hypothesis, a large population-based study has shown that mothers of children with autism are more likely than average to have rheumatoid arthritis or celiac disease. This study strengthens the conclusion of several smaller studies showing an increased incidence of autoimmune disease in families with a history of autism. This hypothesis is also appealing because of the potential ability to identify at-risk pregnancies and develop strategies for preventing antibody-mediated brain damage.

Funder

Funder

Simons Foundation

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

91480

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2010-2012

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3SE. Support at least two studies to determine if there are subpopulations that are more susceptible to environmental exposures (e.g., immune challenges related to infections, vaccinations, or underlying autoimmune problems) by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $8,000,000 over 2 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Autism spectrum disorder and autoimmune disease of mothers (External web link)

Institution

Institution

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

State/Country

State/Country

New York

Project Number

Project Number

175470

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Autism spectrum disorder and autoimmune disease of mothers | 91480 | 2011 | 175470
Autism spectrum disorder and autoimmune disease of mothers | 137219 | 2012 | 175470

 
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