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Immunological Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Immunological Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Chapter:
Immunological Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Author(s):

Thayne L. Sweeten

and Christopher J. McDougle

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199349722.003.0014
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date: 24 May 2022

This chapter reviews evidence for immune involvement in a subgroup of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It may be that different processes, including infection, alloimmunity, and autoimmunity, can result in neuroinflammation in some persons with ASD. Preliminary evidence for a systemic inflammatory process affecting the brain, gastrointestinal tract, and possibly other systems in a subtype of ASD is beginning to emerge. Results from small, pilot treatment studies of anti-inflammatory and immune modulating drugs suggest that some symptoms associated with ASD can be improved with these agents. Future directions of research will involve more clearly defining which subjects with ASD have a primary or secondary immune-related pathophysiology and aligning their treatment with more targeted biological interventions.

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