Authors: Siniscalco D, Mijatovic T, Bosmans E, Cirillo A, Kruzliak P, Lombardi VC, DE Meirleir K, Antonucci N
Publication: in vivo (2016)

Background. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are complex, and severe heterogeneous neurodevelopmental pathologies with accepted but complex immune system abnormalities. Additional knowledge regarding potential immune dysfunctions may provide a greater understanding of this malady. Aim. The aim of this study was to evaluate the CD57+CD3− mature lymphocyte subpopulation of natural killer cells as a marker of immune dysfunction in ASD. Materials and Methods. Three-color flow cytometrybased analysis of fresh peripheral blood samples from children with autism was utilized to measure CD57+CD3−lymphocytes. Results. A reduction of CD57+CD3−lymphocyte counts was recorded in a significant number of patients with autism. Discussion and conclusion. We demonstrate that the number of peripheral CD57+CD3−cells in children with autism often falls below the clinically accepted normal range. This implies that a defect in the counter-regulatory functions necessary for balancing proinflammatory cytokines exists, thus opening the way to chronic inflammatory conditions associated with ASD.