Immune system gene dysregulation in autism and schizophrenia

Maximilian Michel, Martin J. Schmidt, Karoly Mirnics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gene*environment interactions play critical roles in the emergence of autism and schizophrenia pathophysiology. In both disorders, recent genetic association studies have provided evidence for disease-linked variation in immune system genes and postmortem gene expression studies have shown extensive chronic immune abnormalities in brains of diseased subjects. Furthermore, peripheral biomarker studies revealed that both innate and adaptive immune systems are dysregulated. In both disorders symptoms of the disease correlate with the immune system dysfunction; yet, in autism this process appears to be chronic and sustained, while in schizophrenia it is exacerbated during acute episodes. Furthermore, since immune abnormalities endure into adulthood and anti-inflammatory agents appear to be beneficial, it is likely that these immune changes actively contribute to disease symptoms. Modeling these changes in animals provided further evidence that prenatal maternal immune activation alters neurodevelopment and leads to behavioral changes that are relevant for autism and schizophrenia. The converging evidence strongly argues that neurodevelopmental immune insults and genetic background critically interact and result in increased risk for either autism or schizophrenia. Further research in these areas may improve prenatal health screening in genetically at-risk families and may also lead to new preventive and/or therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1277-1287
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Neurobiology
Volume72
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

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Autistic Disorder
Immune System
Schizophrenia
Genes
Gene-Environment Interaction
Genetic Association Studies
Brain Diseases
Prenatal Diagnosis
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Biomarkers
Mothers
Gene Expression
Health
Research
Therapeutics

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Environment
  • Immune
  • Maternal immune activation
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Immune system gene dysregulation in autism and schizophrenia. / Michel, Maximilian; Schmidt, Martin J.; Mirnics, Karoly.

In: Developmental Neurobiology, Vol. 72, No. 10, 01.10.2012, p. 1277-1287.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Michel, Maximilian ; Schmidt, Martin J. ; Mirnics, Karoly. / Immune system gene dysregulation in autism and schizophrenia. In: Developmental Neurobiology. 2012 ; Vol. 72, No. 10. pp. 1277-1287.
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