Serum cytokine levels in children with spectrum autism disorder: Differences in pro- and anti-inflammatory balance

J Neuroimmunol. 2019 Dec 15:337:577066. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2019.577066. Epub 2019 Sep 15.


Background: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is a developmental and neurological disorder that affects all aspects of social communication, with limited and stereotypical interest, and atypical responses to sensory stimuli. Diagnosis of ASD is currently phenotype based with no reliable laboratory test available to assist clinicians. Researches have shown that individuals with autism often exhibit dysfunction of cytokines.

Methods: A total of 42 patients with ASD and 20 matched controls participants were recruited for the study. Diagnosis was conducted by medical specialists and based on the International Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders - ICD-10, DSM-5 and CARS sore. Whole blood samples were collected and serum IL's and chemokin levels were made using ELISA kits.

Results: Results demonstrated that in comparison to the controls, the individuals with autism showed significantly higher concentration of IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-13. We also demonstrated significant correlations between the levels of cytokines which implies the presence of an interactive network between them. The results of ROC analysis indicated the 4-factors (IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-13) could be potential biomarkers in diagnosis of ASD.

Conclusions: In this study, serum levels of cytokine differed among children with ASD. However, the findings of this support the possibility of using an appropriate selection of serum cytokine for the diagnosis ASD and emphasize the need to standardize quantitative methods for serum analysis.

Keywords: ASD; CARS scale; ICD-10 classification; IL; Interleukins; Serum.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / blood*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Male


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators