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Extramural Research

Mother’s Antibodies May Explain a Quarter of Autism Cases

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EPA STAR-funded researchers have identified seven primary auto-antibodies and corresponding antigens that appear to be linked to maternal autoantibody-related (MAR) autism.  This is the first time researchers have identified specific antibodies in women whose children have been diagnosed with autism. This research was reported in a paper published on July 9th in  Translational Psychiatry.  STAR  researchers found that 23% of autism cases may be caused by these maternal antibodies reacting with fetal brain proteins, or antigens.  This research could result in the development of a test for a panel of biomarkers that would show a near-certain risk of autism.  STAR PI, Van de Water of the EPA/NIEHS UC Davis Children’s Center and the MIND Institute said these biomarkers could be used to test women before they become pregnant to screen them for the risk of MAR autism. 

See interview with Principal Investigator Judith Van de Water, PhD:
Maternal antibodies may play role in autism Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

The publication “Autism-specific maternal autoantibodies recognize critical proteins in developing brain” is available at:
Autism-specific maternal autoantibodies recognize critical proteins in developing brain Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

For more information on the STAR research project that resulted in these findings:
UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health

For more information about the EPA/NIEHS UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health:
Center for Children's Environmental Health Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

For more information on the EPA/NIEHS Children’s Environmental Health Centers Program:
EPA/NIEHS Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers (CEHCs)

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