Evaluation of antibodies to cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus in patients with autism spectrum disorder

Hum Antibodies. 2017;26(3):165-169. doi: 10.3233/HAB-180335.


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disease that manifested by a wide range of behavioral disorders. Although the etiology of autism is remained unknown but it is suggested that ASD have a complex etiology, including genetic and environmental factors, which may explain the observed different behavioral disorders in these patients. One of the proposed reasons for autism is viral infection in the early stages of development. The mechanism by which viral infection could lead to autism is still unclear.Previous studiesemphasized on the role of family membersof Herpesviruses in autism susceptibility. In this study, anti-Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies in the serum of 45 children with autism and 45 healthy individuals were evaluated. Serum samples were isolated from 5 ml blood of the patients and controls. Sandwich ELISA was used to quantitatively measure antibodies against the mentioned viruses. Results analyzed by SPSS software showed an increased amount of anti-CMV IgG and IgM antibodies in the blood of patients with Autism but not statistically significant (P< 0.05). The anti-EBV IgM antibody in the blood of patients with Autism was not only increased but also statistically significant (P< 0.05), however, the IgG level against EBV in the serum of ASD patients showed no significant difference in comparison to healthy controls. So it can be said that although the mechanisms of viral infection in autism is unknown, but probably EBV infection is associated with an increased risk of autism.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; ELISA; Epstein Barr virus; cytomegalovirus.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Antigens, Viral / blood
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / blood
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / immunology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / virology
  • Autistic Disorder / blood
  • Autistic Disorder / immunology
  • Autistic Disorder / virology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / blood
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / immunology
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / blood
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Male


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M