Purpose: Immune system of some autistic patients could be abnormally triggered by gluten/casein assumption. The prevalence of antibodies to gliadin and milk proteins in autistic children with paired/impaired intestinal permeability and under dietary regimen either regular or restricted is reported.
Methods: 162 ASDs and 44 healthy children were investigated for intestinal permeability, tissue-transglutaminase (tTG), anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA)-IgA, and total mucosal IgA to exclude celiac disease; HLA-DQ2/-DQ8 haplotypes; total systemic antibodies (IgA, IgG, and IgE); specific systemic antibodies: α-gliadin (AGA-IgA and IgG), deamidated-gliadin-peptide (DGP-IgA and IgG), total specific gliadin IgG (all fractions: α, β, γ, and ω), β-lactoglobulin IgG, α-lactalbumin IgG, casein IgG; and milk IgE, casein IgE, gluten IgE,-lactoglobulin IgE, and α-lactalbumin IgE.
Results: AGA-IgG and DPG-IgG titers resulted to be higher in ASDs compared to controls and are only partially influenced by diet regimen. Casein IgG titers resulted to be more frequently and significantly higher in ASDs than in controls. Intestinal permeability was increased in 25.6% of ASDs compared to 2.3% of healthy children. Systemic antibodies production was not influenced by paired/impaired intestinal permeability.
Conclusions: Immune system of a subgroup of ASDs is triggered by gluten and casein; this could be related either to AGA, DPG, and Casein IgG elevated production or to impaired intestinal barrier function.