This study determined immune activities in the brain of ASD patients and matched normal subjects by examining cytokines in the brain tissue. Our results showed that proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6 and GM-CSF), Th1 cytokine (IFN-gamma) and chemokine (IL-8) were significantly increased in the brains of ASD patients compared with the controls. However the Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10) showed no significant difference. The Th1/Th2 ratio was also significantly increased in ASD patients.
Conclusion: ASD patients displayed an increased innate and adaptive immune response through the Th1 pathway, suggesting that localized brain inflammation and autoimmune disorder may be involved in the pathogenesis of ASD.