Saturday, 3 August 2013

Allergy and brain autoantibodies in autism?

The Saudi-Egyptian autism research tag-team of Gehan Mostafa and Laila Al-Ayadhi have been quiet of late on this blog. Regular readers will remember them from such studies as IL-17A elevated in cases of autism (see here) and S100B protein elevated in autism (see here).

My name.. JR Hartley @ Wikipedia
One of their latest offerings* looking at brain autoantibodies builds on some earlier work of theirs suggesting that alongside lower levels of vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), higher levels of anti-MAG (anti-myelin associated glycoprotein) autoantibodies were also found. I'll freely admit to being more than a little confused by their assessment of anti-MAG autoantibodies and how it fitted into the whole vitamin D findings but, hey-ho.

In their latest paper they suggest that anti-MAG brain autoantibodies and anti-MAP (anti-myelin basic protein) autoantibodies might actually have more of a correlation / connection to cases of autism also presenting "with allergic manifestations".

It does seem like there is a bit of fishing expedition going on here as per some even older findings from the tag-team in relation to (or rather not) hyperserotonemia as per this article** (open-access).

That's not to say that these autoantibodies might not be important to cases of autism as per papers like this one*** from the late Reed Warren and colleagues (he of the C4B null allele and sIgA) acknowledging not albeit for everyone. Indeed an even more recent paper of their points towards as much**** (open-access). The recent description of MAR autism also widens the whole autoantibody area above and beyond just the person concerned.

I'm just not sure however that fishing for associations is necessarily the right way to go about looking at the relationships present in these findings. (Sorry)

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* Mostafa GA, Al-Ayadhi LY. The possible relationship between allergic manifestations and elevated serum levels of brain specific auto-antibodies in autistic children. J Neuroimmunol. 2013 May 29. pii: S0165-5728(13)00087-8.

** Mostafa GA, Al-Ayadhi LY. A lack of association between hyperserotonemia and the increased frequency of serum anti-myelin basic protein auto-antibodies in autistic children. J Neuroinflammation. 2011 Jun 22;8:71. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-8-71.

*** Singh VK. et al. Antibodies to myelin basic protein in children with autistic behavior. Brain Behav Immun. 1993 Mar;7(1):97-103.

**** Al-Ayadhi LY. & Mostafa GA. Elevated serum levels of macrophage-derived chemokine and thymus and activation-regulated chemokine in autistic children. J Neuroinflammation. 2013 Jun 19;10(1):72.

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ResearchBlogging.org Mostafa GA, & Al-Ayadhi LY (2013). The possible relationship between allergic manifestations and elevated serum levels of brain specific auto-antibodies in autistic children. Journal of neuroimmunology PMID: 23726766