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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 81-87

A study of serum interleukin-12 in a sample of autistic children in Egypt


1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Police Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt
2 Department of Pediatrics, and Clinical Pathology, Police Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Soha Ibrahim
Neuropsychiatry Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, 23225 Alexandria
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1110-1105.158115

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Introduction Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) prevalence varies widely by sex and the racial/ethnic group. The male-to-female ratio ranged from 3 to 4 : 1. Some consider ASD to be an autoimmune disorder, in which the autoimmune response to the developing brain myelin may impair anatomical development of neural pathways in autistic children; this affects the speed of impulse transmission. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is an interleukin that is naturally produced by dendritic cells and macrophages in response to antigenic stimulation; it plays an important role in the activities of natural killer cells and T lymphocytes involved in the immune system. Aim of the work The present study was conducted to compare the level of serum IL-12 between children with autistic disorder (AD) and healthy control children, and also to study the relation of serum IL-12 with the severity of autistic symptoms. Participants and methods A cross-sectional study was conducted on two groups; group I included 20 patients with AD and group II included 20 normal children matched for age and sex, recruited from the Child and Adolescent Outpatients Clinic at Al Hadra University Hospital. All children were subjected to a complete psychiatric history, physical and neurological examination, psychometric assessment by Childhood Autistic Rating Scale, and estimation of serum IL-12 using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. Results The mean serum level of IL-12 was significantly higher in AD children than in controls and was related to a younger age, male sex, a positive family history and ante/natal/postnatal history, nondevelopment of spoken language, the presence of comorbidities, and higher Childhood Autistic Rating Scale mean scores. Conclusion The study pointed out an immunological impairment in the form of an elevated serum level of IL-12 in autistic children and its positive relation to autistic symptom severity. This supports the immunological etiology of ASD.


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