A role for immunological involvement in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has long been hypothesized. This review includes four sections describing (1) evidence for a relationship between familial autoimmune disorders and ASD; (2) results from post-mortem and neuroimaging studies that investigated aspects of neuroinflammation in ASD; (3) findings from animal model work in ASD involving inflammatory processes; and (4) outcomes from trials of anti-inflammatory/immune-modulating drugs in ASD that have appeared in the literature. Following each section, ideas are provided for future research, suggesting paths forward in the continuing effort to define the role of immune factors and inflammation in the pathophysiology of a subtype of ASD. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Neuroimmunology in Health And Disease.
Keywords: Animal models; Autism spectrum disorder; Autoimmune disorders; Immunology; Neuroimaging; Pathophysiology; Post-mortem; Psychopharmacology.
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