A study of nuclear transcription factor-kappa B in childhood autism. - GreenMedInfo Summary
A study of nuclear transcription factor-kappa B in childhood autism.
PLoS One. 2011 May 9 ;6(5):e19488. Epub 2011 May 9. PMID: 21573053
Usha S Naik
BACKGROUND: Several children with autism show regression in language and social development while maintaining normal motor milestones. A clear period of normal development followed by regression and subsequent improvement with treatment, suggests a multifactorial etiology. The role of inflammation in autism is now a major area of study. Viral and bacterial infections, hypoxia, or medication could affect both foetus and infant. These stressors could upregulate transcription factors like nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), a master switch for many genes including some implicated in autism like tumor necrosis factor (TNF). On this hypothesis, it was proposed to determine NF-κB in children with autism.
METHODS: Peripheral blood samples of 67 children with autism and 29 control children were evaluated for NF-κB using electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). A phosphor imaging technique was used to quantify values. The fold increase over the control sample was calculated and statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS 15.
RESULTS: We have noted significant increase in NF-κB DNA binding activity in peripheral blood samples of children with autism. When the fold increase of NF-κB in cases (n = 67) was compared with that of controls (n = 29), there was a significant difference (3.14 vs. 1.40, respectively; p<0.02).
CONCLUSION: This finding has immense value in understanding many of the known biochemical changes reported in autism. As NF-κB is a response to stressors of several kinds and a master switch for many genes, autism may then arise at least in part from an NF-κB pathway gone awry.