The Possible Association between Elevated Levels of Blood Mercury and the Increased Frequency of Serum Anti-myelin Basic Protein Auto-antibodies in Autistic Children
|Gehan Ahmed Mostafa1* and Laila Yousef AL-Ayadhi2|
|1Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt|
|2Autism Research and Treatment Center, AL-Amodi Autism Research Chair, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|Corresponding Author :||Mostafa G
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine
Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
Tel: +202 22713217
Fax: +202 4820237
E-mail: [email protected]
|Received January 19, 2015; Accepted March 18, 2015; Published March 25, 2015|
|Citation: Mostafa GA, AL-Ayadhi LY (2015) The Possible Association between Elevated Levels of Blood Mercury and the Increased Frequency of Serum Anti-myelin Basic Protein Auto-antibodies in Autistic Children. J Clin Cell Immunol 6:310. doi:10.4172/2155-9899.1000310|
|Copyright: © 2015 Mostafa G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.|
|Related article at
Pubmed Scholar Google
Background: Autism can occur as a result of a complex interaction between environmental factors and genetic predisposition. Mercury is a neurotoxicant and it is one of the main environmental triggers for autoimmunity. The underlying pathogenic mechanism in autoimmune disorders is the formation of auto-antibodies. Brain specific autoantibodies are elevated in a subgroup of autistic children. We are the first to study the relation between blood mercury levels and the seropositivity of anti-myelin basic protein (anti-MBP) autoantibodies in autistic children.
Methods: Blood mercury levels were measured, by atomic absorption spectrometry, and serum levels of anti- MBP auto-antibodies were measured, by ELISA, in 100 children with autism aged between 5-12 years and 100 healthy-matched control children.
Results: Serum levels of blood mercury were significantly higher in autistic children than healthy controls (P<0.001). Increased levels of blood mercury were found in 48% of autistic patients. In addition, 72% of autistic children had positive results of serum anti-MBP auto-antibodies. There was a significant positive association between the elevated levels of blood mercury and the positivity of serum anti-MBP auto-antibodies in autistic children (P<0.001).
Conclusions: Blood mercury levels were elevated in some autistic children and they were significantly associated with the production of serum anti-MBP auto-antibodies in a group of autistic children. Further research is warranted to determine if the production of brain auto-antibodies is triggered by environmental mercury exposure in autistic children. The possible therapeutic role of mercury chelators in autistic children should be also studied.