Neonatally measured immunoglobulins and risk of autism
Article first published online: 9 DEC 2010
Copyright © 2010, International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 3, Issue 6, pages 323–332, December 2010
How to Cite
Grether, J. K., Croen, L. A., Anderson, M. C., Nelson, K. B. and Yolken, R. H. (2010), Neonatally measured immunoglobulins and risk of autism. Autism Res, 3: 323–332. doi: 10.1002/aur.160
- Issue published online: 22 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 9 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Received: 11 APR 2010
- Stanley Medical Research Institute
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grant Number: CDC U10/CCU920392
- California Department of Public Health
- maternal immune function;
- immunoglobulins and pregnancy
Previous studies indicate that prenatal exposure to infections is a possible pathway through which autism spectrum disorders (ASD) could be initiated. We investigated whether immunoglobulin levels in archived specimens obtained from newborns subsequently diagnosed with ASD are different from levels in newborn specimens from controls. Children with ASD born in six California counties in 1994 were ascertained through records of the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and Kaiser Permanente; controls were randomly selected using birth certificates. Archived newborn blood specimens were obtained from the California Genetic Disease Screening Program (GDSP) for N = 213 cases and N = 265 controls and assayed to determine levels of total IgG, antigen-specific IgG to selected common pathogens, total IgM, total IgA, and C-reactive protein (CRP). We did not find measurable levels of total IgM or IgA in any neonate and measurable CRP was present in only a few. No antigen-specific IgG antibodies were elevated in cases compared to controls and total IgG levels were lower. In adjusted models, a 10-unit increase in total IgG yielded an OR = 0.72 (95% CI 0.56, 0.91); a significantly decreasing trend in risk of ASD was observed across increasing exposure quartiles of total IgG (P = 0.01). The finding of lower IgG in cases may indicate maternal immune dysfunction during gestation and/or impaired transplacental transfer of immunoglobulins. Further investigation of IgG levels in newborns and the mechanisms by which they might be associated with ASD are warranted.