Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York New York United States
There is emerging evidence that immune system abnormalities are associated with symptoms in a substantial number of affected individuals. Recent studies point to a role for gastrointestinal GI symptoms and defects in GI function in the context of autism. Our newly published data indicate that children with autism exhibit significantly elevated antibody reactivity to gluten, which is associated with GI symptoms. However, our data show that the immune response to gluten in ASD is distinct from celiac disease and involves a different mechanism. The central hypothesis of the proposed study is that the antibody response to gluten in ASD differs significantly from celiac disease, targeting a unique set of proteins and epitopes that can be utilized to identify novel biomarkers of the condition and gain novel insights regarding mechanism. The activities in the first year of the grant period have been focused on the first proposed Aim, i.e., characterizing the specific target molecules of the anti-gluten antibody response in ASD. As proposed, we have completed the construction of arrays and are now in the process of the microarray analysis of the antibody data. We have also completed the 1D immunoblotting analysis of the antibody responses to both gluten and nongluten proteins of wheat in patients and controls. Details of the results are presented in this report.