Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Maternal antibodies linked to autism, UCD team finds

By
From page A1 | July 10, 2013 |

UC Davis researchers believe they have discovered the cause of as much as 23 percent of autism cases, pinpointing antibodies in some mothers that attack proteins needed for fetal brain development.

Mothers of some children with autism were more than 21 times as likely to have the specific antibodies in their blood as mothers who did not have autism, according to the study, published online Tuesday by the journal Translational Psychiatry.

The discovery could lead to a diagnostic test for women considering pregnancy that could predict a child’s chance of developing what the researchers are calling “maternal autoantibody-related” (MAR) autism.

Such a test could lead to more accurate diagnosis of children with autism and to the development of a drug capable of blocking the antibodies, protecting the brain of a fetus.

“We hope that, one day, we can tell a mother more precisely what her antibody profile means for her child, then target interventions more effectively,” principal investigator Judy Van de Water of the MIND Institute said in a news release.

A separate, related study, also published Tuesday by the same journal, found that exposure to the maternal antibodies affected the behavior and development of rhesus monkeys.

In 2008, Van de Water’s team identified antibodies in women that increased the risk of having a child with autism. Genetic factors and prenatal viral infections are among the other known causes of autism spectrum disorders.

The team’s new work revealed the mothers’ antibodies targeted seven antigens, all substances that play roles in neurodevelopment. Mothers with antibodies reacting to any of the seven were found to be more than three times more likely to have a child with autism.

The researchers used blood samples from 246 Northern California mothers of children with autism and a control group 149 mothers of typically developing children.

Some combinations of antibodies were not found in any of the mothers in the control group.

As early as 13 weeks, maternal antibodies can be detected in a fetus. If they act against the body’s own tissue, rather than to ward off bacteria or viruses, they are called autoantibodies.

“It is important to note that women have no control over whether or not they develop these autoantibodies, much like any other autoimmune disorder,” Van de Water said. “And, like other autoimmune disorders, we do not know what the initial trigger is that leads to their production.”

UCD has patented the test technology and licensed development rights to Pediatric Bioscience Inc. of Sacramento.

The study’s other authors are: Daniel Braunschweig, Paula Krakowiak, Paul Duncanson, Robert Boyce, Robin Hansen, Paul Ashwood and Irva Hertz-Picciotto, all of UCD.

For the monkey study, groups of pregnant monkeys were injected with specific antibodies from mothers of children with MAR autism or antibodies from mothers of children without autism.

A team led by Melissa Bauman, a MIND Institute faculty member, evaluated the behavioral development of the monkeys’ offspring and conducted magnetic resonance imagining of their brains during their first two years.

They found the monkey mothers treated with the autism-related antibodies were more protective of their young when other monkeys were pregnant, indicating the mothers perhaps sensed a greater risk to their young, Bauman said in a news release.

Such offspring more often approached other infants in their rearing group and, later, made approaches to unfamiliar peers — “highly unusual and potentially dangerous for young rhesus monkeys.”

Though they approached their peers more often, their peers groomed them less often.

“It is possible that there were subtleties in the demeanor of the (offspring of treated mothers) that dissuaded their peers from interacting with them,” Bauman said.

MRI analysis of their brains revealed that brain growth was faster in the males among them, compared to control offspring. Total brain volume of the males also was greater than normal.

UCD researchers have found similar abnormal brain development in male children of mothers with the autism-related antibodies.

Other study authors were Van de Water, Braunschweig, Aaron Lee, Cynthia Schumann and David Amaral of UCD.

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis Community Meals needs cooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Send kids to camp!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Wise words

    By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Awareness is key to this fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Where is this going?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

    We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

     
    Options for protection come with flu season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

     
    Building something at schools’ HQ

    By Our View | From Page: A10

    Don’t sell city greenbelt

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Paso Fino project is flawed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Archer will get my vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Mike Keefe cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Maybe David can beat Goliath again

    By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

     
    Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

     
    ‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    .

    Business

    UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Styles on target for November debut

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

    MBI hires VP of marketing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8