Immune, protein alterations found in blood samples of
children with autism
Scientists from the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute have found components of the immune system and
proteins and metabolites in the blood of children with autism to be substantially different from those
found in typically developing children.
Investigators at the institute believe the discovery, announced at the fourth annual International Meeting
for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Boston, could be a major step toward developing a routine blood test that
would allow autism to be detected in newborns and treatment or even prevention to be initiated early in
"Finding a sensitive and accurate biological marker for autism that can be revealed by a simple
blood test would have enormous implications for diagnosing, treating and understanding more about the
underlying causes of autism," said David G. Amaral, research director at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute
and one of the co-authors of the paper presented at IMFAR.
Amaral, along with pediatric neuropsychologist Blythe Corbett and other M.I.N.D. Institute colleagues,
took blood samples from 70 children with autism who were between 4 and 6 years old and from 35 children
of the same age without the disorder.
Initial findings clearly demonstrate differences in the immune system, as well as proteins and other
metabolites in children with autism: