Inflammatory Cytokines and Autism : A Relationship

Association of IL-12p70 and IL-6:IL-10 ratio with autism-related behaviors in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: a preliminary report.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, USA.


22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a genetic disorder that conveys a significant risk for the development of social behavior disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.

Also known as DiGeorge syndrome, 22q11DS is the second most common childhood genetic disorder and is characterized by an elevated risk for immune disorders, as 77% of individuals have an identifiable immune deficiency.

We hypothesize that this immune dysfunction could contribute to the elevated risk of impaired social behavior seen in 22q11DS. The current study begins to elucidate these immune deficits and link them with the behavioral alterations associated with the disorder. Serum concentrations of a series of cytokines were examined, using a multiplex immunoassay, in sixteen individuals with 22q11DS and screened for autism-related behavior using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). This preliminary study examined correlations between specific immune proteins and each of the ADI-R algorithm scores (social, communication, and repetitive behavior).

The inflammatory cytokine IL-1β, as well as the ratio between the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 and the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, were correlated with social scores (r = 0.851, p = 0.004; r = 0.580, p = 0.018).

In addition, the inflammatory cytokines interferon gamma and IL-12p70 were correlated with repetitive behaviors (r = 0.795, p = 0.033; r = 0.774, p = 0.002).

Interestingly, IL-12 has been reported to be increased in autistic children. These data show a positive relationship between severity of autism-related behaviors and level of serum concentrations of inflammatory cytokines in individuals with 22q11DS, providing a basis for further inquiry.

This entry was posted in Autism, Environment, Immune System, Inflammation, Neurology, Physiology, Schizophrenia, Treatment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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