Afaf El-Ansary

King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

Title: Pro-apoptosis and inflammation in autism as an emerging neuroimmune disorder


Afaf el Ansary is currently working in the Department of Biochemistry, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Objectives: Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by social and emotional defi cits, language impairments and stereotyped behaviors that manifest in early postnatal life.Th e neurobiological basis for autism remains poorly understood. However, research suggests that environmental factors and neuroinfl ammation, as well as genetic factors, are contributors. Th is study aims to test the role that might be played by IL6, TNFα, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β2, heat shock protein 70 (HSP) 70 as neuroinfl ammatory related parameters together with caspases3 and 7 in the pathophysiology of autism. Materials and Methods: IL6, TNFα, INF-γ TGF-β2, HSP70 and caspases 3& 7 as biochemical parameters related to infl ammation were determined in plasma of 20 Saudi autistic male patients and compared to 19 age- and gender-matched control samples. Results: Th e obtained data recorded that autistic patients have remarkably higher plasma HSP70, TGF-β2, Caspase 7 and INF-γ compared to age and gender-matched controls. INF-γ recorded the highest (67.8%) while TGF-β recorded the lowest increase (49.04%). On the other hand, IL6, TNF α and caspase 3 recorded lower values in autistic compared to controls. Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis together with predictiveness diagrams proved that the measured parameters recorded satisfactory levels of specifi city and sensitivity and all could be used as predictive biomarkers. Conclusion: Alteration of the selected parameters confi rm the role of neuroinfl ammation and apoptosis mechanisms in the etiology of autism together with the possibility of the use of these parameters as predictive biomarkers that could be used to predict safety, effi cacy of a specifi c suggested therapy or natural supplements, thereby providing guidance in selecting it for patients or tailoring its dose.

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