Although it is not clear whether inflammation actually cause autism, researchers said children with the condition have inflammation in their brains.
The team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Milan tested the spinal fluid of six living children with autism and brain tissue of 11 patients with autism who had died and found the activation of immune system responses.
Dr. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar of Johns Hopkins, who led the study said, “These findings reinforce the theory that immune activation in the brain is involved in autism, although it is not yet clear whether it is destructive or beneficial, or both, to the developing brain,”
Usually detected as children become toddlers, autism is a brain disorder affecting an estimated two to five out of every 1,000 children. Including difficulty with social interaction and repetitive behaviors, autism has a spectrum of symptoms.
In the online edition of The Annals of Neurology, Pardo and colleagues said they found in autistic patients abnormal activity by immune system signaling chemicals called chemokines.
“This ongoing inflammatory process was present in different areas of the brain and produced by cells known as microglia and astroglia,” said Pardo.
Pardo added, “Scientists have found hints that the immune system may be involved in autism, but not all studies have confirmed this,”
“We wanted a more definitive answer, so rather than looking at the overall immune system, we focused on immune responses inside the relatively sealed environment of the nervous system.”
It has been discovered, the condition is strongly influenced by genes. For example, if one identical twin has autism, the other is also usually affected. The cause of autism is still unknown even though experts have largely rejected links with childhood vaccines.
Whether it is a reaction to something else or if the inflammation causes the condition, Pardo stated more study would be needed.
For more information on autism research, read here: http://www.icare4autism.org/what-is-autism/autism-research/