Elevated cytokine levels in children with autism spectrum disorder

J Neuroimmunol. 2006 Mar;172(1-2):198-205. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2005.11.007. Epub 2005 Dec 19.


This study compared production of IL-2, IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-13, IL-5 and IL-10 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 20 children with autism spectrum disorder to those from matched controls. Levels of all Th2 cytokines were significantly higher in cases after incubation in media alone, but the IFN-gamma/IL-13 ratio was not significantly different between cases and controls. Cases had significantly higher IL-13/IL-10 and IFN-gamma/IL-10 than controls.

Conclusion: Children with ASD had increased activation of both Th2 and Th1 arms of the adaptive immune response, with a Th2 predominance, and without the compensatory increase in the regulatory cytokine IL-10.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Cytokines