Abstract Title:

Alteration of gut microbiota-associated epitopes in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Abstract Source:

Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Oct 27. Epub 2018 Oct 27. PMID: 30394313

Abstract Author(s):

Mingbang Wang, Jiaxiu Zhou, Fusheng He, Chunquan Cai, Hui Wang, Yan Wang, Yin Lin, Han Rong, Guoqiang Cheng, Ruihuan Xu, Wenhao Zhou

Article Affiliation:

Mingbang Wang


BACKGROUND: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1% of children and has no cure. Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are common in children with ASD, and although gut microbiota is known to play an important role in ASD through the gut-brain axis, the specific mechanism is unknown. Recent evidence suggests that gut microbiota may participate in the pathogenesis of ASD through immune- and inflammation-mediated pathways. Here, we identified potentially immunogenic epitopes derived from gut microbiota in stool samples from ASD children with and without GI problems and typically developing (TD) children.

METHODS: Candidate gut microbiota-associated epitopes (MEs) were identified by blast shotgun metagenomic sequencing of fecal samples from 43 ASD children (19 with and 24 without GI involvement) and 31 sex- and age-matched typically developing (TD) children. Potentially immunogenic epitopes were screened against a predictive human Immune Epitope Database. The composition and abundance of candidate MEs were compared between the three groups of children.

RESULTS: MEs identified in ASD children with GI problems were significantly more diverse than those in TD children. ME composition could discriminate between the three groups of children. We identified 34 MEs that were significantly more or less abundant in ASD children than TD children, most (29/34) of the differences in MEs were reduced in ASD and associated with abnormal gut IgA level and altered gut microbiota composition, these MEs were limited effected by clinical factors such as age, gender, and GI problems, of which eleven MEs were pathogenic microorganisms peptides with strong T or B cell response, nine MEs showed high homology to peptides from human self proteins associated with autoimmune disease occurrence, eliciting immune attack against hematopoietic stem cells and inhibition antigen binding. We also found that the abundance of five MEs were increased in ASD, including three human self proteins, gap junction alpha-1 (GJA1), paired box protein Pax-3 (PAX3) and eyes absent homolog 1 isoform 4 (EYA1) which associated with cancer, and a ME with homology to a Listeriolysin O peptide from the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes was significantly increased in ASD children compared with TD children.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate the abnormal of MEs composition in the gut of children with ASD, moreover, the abnormality in MEs composition was associated with abnormal gut IgA levels and altered gut microbiota composition, this abnormality also suggests that there may be abnormalities in intestinal immunity in children with ASD; In all, thirty-four MEs identified were potential biomarker of ASD, andalterations in MEs may contribute to abnormalities in gut immunity and/or homeostasis in ASD children. Further study of the MEs identified here may advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of ASD.

Study Type : Human Study

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