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The Immune System, Autoimmunity, Allergy, and Autism Spectrum Disorders 

The Immune System, Autoimmunity, Allergy, and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Chapter:
The Immune System, Autoimmunity, Allergy, and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Author(s):

Paula Goines

, Andrew Zimmerman

, Paul Ashwood

, and Judy Van de Water

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195371826.003.0027
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date: 23 May 2017

For three decades, immune anomalies have been described in subjects with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their family members. Examples include signs of inflammation in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid and gastrointestinal tract, as well as differences in both the humoral and cellular immune systems. In addition, autoimmune and allergy-associated disorders appear more frequently in ASD subjects and their families compared to “neurotypical” control populations. The nature of the connection between behavior and the immune system in autism is the current focus of several new studies. While the clinical significance of immune related findings in autism is unclear, it provides a valuable opportunity to understand the underlying biology of the disorder, and may lead to future therapies. This chapter discusses the complex relationship between immune dysfunction and ASD.

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