Amniotic Fluid MMP-9 and Neurotrophins in Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Exploratory Study

Authors

  • Morsi W. Abdallah,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen S, Denmark
    2. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Rostock University Hospital, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
    • Section for Epidemiology, Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark
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  • Brad D. Pearce,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
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  • Nanna Larsen,

    1. Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen S, Denmark
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  • Kirstin Greaves-Lord,

    1. Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Erasmus MC—Sophia's Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    2. Yulius Academie & Yulius Autisme, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen,

    1. Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen S, Denmark
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  • David M. Hougaard,

    1. Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen S, Denmark
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  • Erik L. Mortensen,

    1. Institute of Public Health and Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Jakob Grove

    1. Department of Biomedicine, Health, Aarhus University and Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC), Aarhus C, Denmark
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  • Erik L. Mortensen and Jakob Grove contributed equally to this work.
  • Funding: This study is funded jointly by Aarhus University Faculty of Health Sciences, Aarhus, Denmark and Statens Serum Institute, Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology, Copenhagen, Denmark (Project Title: Intrauterine Exposures and Childhood Psychiatric Disorders, Project ID: 494028). This study utilized the Danish historic birth cohort that was established at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen with a grant from The Danish Medical Research Foundation and The Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health (Project no. 271-05-0523/09–060179).

Address for correspondence and reprints: Morsi W. Abdallah, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Rostock University Hospital, University of Rostock, Gehlsheimer Street 20, Rostock 18147, Germany. E-mail: morsi.abdallah@med.uni-rostock.de

Abstract

Evidence suggests that some developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), are caused by errors in brain plasticity. Given the important role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and neurotrophins (NTs) in neuroplasticity, amniotic fluid samples for 331 ASD cases and 698 frequency-matched controls were analyzed for levels of MMP-9, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, NT-4 and transforming growth factor-β utilizing a Danish historic birth cohort and Danish nationwide health registers. Laboratory measurements were performed using an in-house multiplex sandwich immunoassay Luminex xMAP method, and measurements were analyzed using tobit and logistic regression. Results showed elevated levels of MMP-9 in ASD cases compared with controls (crude and adjusted tobit regression P-values: 0.01 and 0.06). Our results highlight the importance of exploring the biologic impact of MMP-9 and potential therapeutic roles of its inhibitors in ASD and may indicate that neuroplastic impairments in ASD may present during pregnancy. Autism Res 2012, 5: 428–433. © 2012 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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