Scientists have uncovered a possible «bacterial» cause of autism

© Fotolia / Photographee.aimama with the childScientists have uncovered a possible «bacterial» cause of autism© Fotolia /

The development of inflammation and severe infections in pregnant women may cause autism in their children because of the unusual nature of the interactions of microbes, the immune system of the mother and «pieces» of brain cells in the Bud, says the articles, published in the journal Nature.

«We opened a special region of the brain, which, apparently, is responsible for the development of all the unusual behaviours associated with the development of autism. If our discovery is confirmed, then we will be able to drastically reduce the likelihood that similar problems inhibiting the growth of certain microbes in the gut of expectant mothers,» said Gloria Choi (Choi Gloria) from the Massachusetts Institute of technology (USA).

According to US health officials, autism spectrum disorders occur in one out of 68 children in the world. According to who, each year, the number of children with autism increased by 13%. In recent years, scientists have discovered dozens of genes associated with autism, but mutations in them can not fully explain a single case of development of the disease as a whole and its individual symptoms in particular.

A year ago, American scientists have noticed by experimenting on mice that autism is associated not only with the presence of certain mutations in the genes that control the operation and development of the brain, but with the bacteria in the gut of autistic people themselves and their parents. As shown by these experiments, «transplantation» of healthy microflora in mice-mothers has reduced the probability of autism in their offspring, and its replacement in the body itself mice – made them more «contact» and social.

Choi and her colleagues found more evidence of this, and revealed the mechanism of action of microbes on the brain of the unborn child, observing the reaction of the body pregnant mice on the occurrence of casts «virus» in their body.

The appearance of false infections in the body of rodents mobilized their immune system and caused her to develop a large number of unusual cells, usually absent in females body at the time when they are not carrying offspring. These immune calf, in turn, produced a large number of Il-17, signaling molecules of the immune system, is able to penetrate the fetus through the placenta of the mother.

This protein, according to Choi, is the cause of autism. It affects the «preparations» of the brain cells in the special zone located within the part of the cortex, which is responsible for aggregating information coming from the senses, and the work of the so-called «sixth sense», the ability to determine the position of his body in space. Interleukin-17 prevents them from developing normally, resulting in the work of this think tank is broken even before the birth of the child.

Following this idea, the researchers tested what would happen if to suppress the work of the cells in this part of the cortex in mice that have already developed autism. This procedure, as noted by Choi and her colleagues made mice more likely to communicate with each other and suppressing other symptoms of autism.

What causes the immune system to «go crazy» and to produce large quantities of Il-17? Comparing the microbiota of mice, the scientists came to the conclusion that the reason for this were the germs of the genus Savagella, previously considered harmless and quite rare guests in the gut of humans and other mammals.

When biologists removed these microbes from the intestines of mice, they were able to sharply reduce the number of young»autistic», which suggests that drugs that inhibit the reproduction of these bacteria can protect pregnant women from autism in their children.


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