The relationship between HLA genes, mid-gestational immune activation and intelligence in autism

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Project Details

Evidence indicates a maternal immune response against the fetus occurs in a subset of ASD cases. Our previous studies, and those of others, have associated certain HLA genes such as the HLA-DRB1*04 allele, HLA-G and the shared HLA-DRB1 epitope with autism. These genes play a critical role in controlling immune responses. Collaborators in our research group have detected antibodies against the fetal brain and elevated mid-gestational blood cytokine in mothers of autistic children. Elevated maternal cytokines is associated with intellectual disability in the ASD children.

Project Focus:
In this this study we are sequencing and typing important HLA genes in approximately 350 children with autism, controls and their mothers to determine if certain variants are associated with the intelligence and maternal immune measures that have previously been detected by our collaborators.