Inflammatory cytokines: potential biomarkers of immunologic dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders

Mediators Inflamm. 2015:2015:531518. doi: 10.1155/2015/531518. Epub 2015 Feb 1.

Abstract

Autism is a disorder of neurobiological origin characterized by problems in communication and social skills and repetitive behavior. After more than six decades of research, the etiology of autism remains unknown, and no biomarkers have been proven to be characteristic of autism. A number of studies have shown that the cytokine levels in the blood, brain, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of autistic subjects differ from that of healthy individuals; for example, a series of studies suggests that interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) are significantly elevated in different tissues in autistic subjects. However, the expression of some cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-2, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), is controversial, and different studies have found various results in different tissues. In this review, we focused on several types of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines that might affect different cell signal pathways and play a role in the pathophysiological mechanism of autistic spectrum disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / immunology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor