Brains of autistic individuals show “inflammation response genes” are turned on…
After analyzing the brains, the researchers discovered that in the brains of individuals with autism, the microglia were constantly activated and their inflammation response genes were turned on.
Though this type of inflammation is not yet well understood, the researchers say it shines a light on the current lack of understanding regarding how immunity affects neural circuits.
“What we don’t know is whether this immune response is making things better in the short term and worse in the long term,” says Prof. Arking, who adds that this is “a downstream consequence of upstream gene mutation.”
By that, he means that given what they already know about genetic contributions to autism, inflammation is unlikely to be the root cause of the condition.
For further research, the team now wants to determine whether treating the inflammation could mitigate autism symptoms.