Author(s): Guerini FR, Bolognesi E, Chiappedi M, Ghezzo A, Canevini MP,
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Abstract HLA-G expressed by the trophoblast ligates KIR molecules expressed by maternal NK cells at the uterine fetal/maternal interface: this interaction is involved in generating immune tolerance during pregnancy. A 14-bp insertion in the HLA-G 3'-UTR associates with significantly reduced levels of both HLA-G mRNA and soluble HLA-G, thus hampering the efficacy of HLA-G-mediated immune tolerance during pregnancy. Because prenatal immune activation is suggested to play an important role in the onset of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) we performed an in-depth evaluation of HLA-G polymorphisms in a well-characterized cohort of Italian families of ASD children. Results showed that frequency of both homozygous 14bp+/14bp+ genotype and 14bp+ allele was significantly higher in ASD children and their mothers compared to controls (p<0.05 in all cases); analysis of the frequency of transmission of the 14bp+ allele from parents to ASD children and their non-ASD siblings showed that the 14bp+ allele was more frequently transmitted (T) to ASD children, whereas it was preferentially not transmitted (NT) to the non-ASD siblings (overall discrepancy: p=0.02; OR: 2.6, 95\% CI: 1.1-6.4). Results herein suggest that HLA-G polymorphisms are associated with ASD development, possibly as a consequence of prenatal immune activation. These data infer that the immune alterations seen in ASD are associated with the maternal-fetal interaction alone, and reinforce the observation that different genetic backgrounds characterize ASD children and their non-ASD siblings. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Brain Behav Immun
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Medical Genomics