Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Immunology
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Prenatal Maternal Antibodies Affect Child Development

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Prenatal exposure to specific combinations of antibodies found only in mothers of children with autism leads to changes in the brain that adversely affect behavior and development.

The researchers said that the highly specific immunoglobulin-G (IgG) autoantibodies cross the placenta during pregnancy to impact fetal brain development, resulting in a form of autism that the researchers now are calling maternal antibody-related (MAR) autism. The researchers said that MAR autism cases could represent as much as 23 percent of all autism cases.

The research is published online today in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature journal.

During gestation, maternal IgG antibodies normally cross the placenta and protect the fetus, conferring the mother's immunities to the developing child. However, in addition to protective antibodies, autoantibodies that react to fetal proteins can also cross the placenta, essentially attacking fetal tissue.

The current study is an extension of an earlier study conducted in 2008. It explores the effects of the autism-specific IgG antibodies in a non-human primate model. Non-human primates live in complex social groups and use many forms of social communication. In addition, portions of the human brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, are poorly developed in other animal models, such as rodents, but are highly developed in the rhesus monkey.

For the study, a group of pregnant female monkeys were exposed to IgG purified from mothers of children with autism that exhibited fetal brain reactivity - the IgG-ASD group; a second group of pregnant female monkeys received IgG antibodies from the mothers of typically developing children. The third group included untreated animals that did not receive antibodies.

The study's lead researcher is Melissa D. Bauman, UC Davis assistant adjunct professor in the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and a faculty member at the MIND Institute. To evaluate development in the IgG-ASD offspring, Bauman and her colleagues carried out a comprehensive evaluation of behavioral development and periodically conducted longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the monkeys' brain development during the first two years of life.

"The offspring of IgG-ASD antibody treated mothers consistently deviated from species-typical behavioral development of young rhesus monkeys," Bauman said. Early in development, the monkey mothers treated with IgG-ASD antibodies were much more protective of their offspring. For example, the IgG-ASD treated mothers more frequently approached and contacted their infants and remained in close proximity to them.

The mothers may have detected behavioral abnormalities in their IgG-ASD offspring that were so subtle that they escaped the researchers' attention, Bauman said. "The heightened protectiveness of the monkey mother's was observed only when other animals were present, suggesting that the mothers perceived a greater risk to their IgG-ASD treated infants," she said.

Other alterations in behavior were observed as the animals matured. For example, the offspring of the IgG-ASD antibody-treated animals more frequently approached other infants in their rearing group. "Even more strikingly, as they grew older, the IgG-ASD offspring increased their approaches to unfamiliar peers," she said. "Inappropriately approaching a novel animal is highly unusual and potentially dangerous for young rhesus monkeys."

Social interactions such as grooming or playing often occur when a young rhesus monkey approaches a peer. Despite the higher frequency of their approaches, the IgG-ASD offspring did not interact socially with peers more often than did the offspring whose mothers did not receive IgG-ASD antibodies. "In fact, there actually was a trend for the IgG-ASD offspring to receive less grooming from their same-age peers," she said. "It is possible that there were subtleties in the demeanor of the IgG-ASD offspring that dissuaded their peers from interacting with them."

These new behavioral findings build upon previous studies exploring the role of maternal antibodies in autism, including a pilot study conducted in non-human primates in 2008.

During the past five years, study co-author Judy Van de Water and her colleagues have made substantial progress in characterizing which maternal antibodies are highly specific to autism. Van de Water with colleagues Rob Berman and Daniel Braunschweig recently reported that mouse offspring prenatally exposed to these autism-specific antibodies exhibit altered physical and social development, including anxiety and social behavior.

"The non-human primate study provides an exciting look at the pathologic effect of these autism-specific maternal antibodies," said Judy Van de Water, who originally described the association between maternal antibodies to fetal brain proteins and ASD.

In addition to the behavioral changes, MRI analysis of the brains revealed altered patterns of neurodevelopment in the monkey offspring exposed to the IgG-ASD antibodies. The rate of brain growth was significantly faster in the male, but not female, IgG-ASD offspring, when compared with that of the control offspring. The total brain volume of the male IgG-ASD offspring also was significantly greater than normal, the researchers found.

While it is not clear why prenatal exposure to these antibodies only alters brain volume in the male offspring, a similar trajectory of abnormal brain development has been observed in male children with autism. Recent research from the MIND Institute has reported that boys with autism who were exposed prenatally to the same antibodies have significantly larger brains than boys with autism born to mothers without the IgG-ASD antibodies and typically developing control groups.

"The combination of brain and behavioral changes observed in the nonhuman primate offspring exposed to these autism-specific antibodies suggests that this is a very promising avenue of research." Bauman adds that this unique interdisciplinary study requires a team of researchers with expertise in immunology, animal behavior and neuroscience thus "highlighting the collaborative efforts that characterize research at the UC Davis MIND Institute."

David Amaral, research director of the MIND Institute and senior author of the paper, noted "that much research remains ahead of us to identify the mechanisms by which the antibodies affect brain development and behavior. But, this program of research is very exciting, because it opens pathways to potentially predicting and preventing some portion of future autism cases."


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Scientists Create CRISPR/Cas9 Knock-In Mutations in Human T Cells
In a project spearheaded by investigators at UC San Francisco, scientists have devised a new strategy to precisely modify human T cells using the genome-editing system known as CRISPR/Cas9.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Engineers Crack DNA Code of Autoimmune Disorders
Researchers have identified an unexpectedly general set of rules that determine which molecules can cause the immune system to become vulnerable to the autoimmune disorders lupus and psoriasis.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Using microRNA Fit to a T (Cell)
Researchers show B cells can deliver potentially therapeutic bits of modified RNA.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Autoimmune Disease Strategy Emerges from Immune Cell Discovery
UCSF experiments halt pancreas destruction in mouse model of diabetes.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Tuberculosis and Parkinson’s Disease Linked by Unique Protein
UCSF researchers seek way to boost protein to fight both diseases.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Therapy Could Treat Breast Cancer that's Spread to Brain
Researchers have successfully combined cellular therapy and gene therapy in a mouse-model system to develop a viable treatment strategy for breast cancer that has spread to a patient's brain.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Immune System Molecule Promotes Tumor Resistance
A team of scientists has shown for the first time that a signaling protein involved in inflammation also promotes tumor resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Intestinal Bacteria May Fuel Inflammation and Worsen HIV Disease
Changes in intestinal bacteria may help explain why successfully treated HIV patients still experience life-shortening chronic diseases.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Absence of Gene Leads to Earlier, More Severe Case of Multiple Sclerosis
UCSF finding in animal study may lead to biomarker that predicts course of disease in humans.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Developmental Protein Plays Role in Spread of Cancer
A protein used by embryo cells during early development, and recently found in many different types of cancer, apparently serves as a switch regulating metastasis.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Depression Linked to Telomere Enzyme, Aging, Chronic Disease
The first symptoms of major depression may be behavioral, but the common mental illness is based in biology — and not limited to the brain.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research to Celebrate 15 Years
A program that fosters basic science projects of potentially high impact is celebrating 15 years of discovery at UC San Francisco.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
UCSF Scientists Use Human Stem Cells to Generate Immune System in Mice
Raising hopes for cell-based therapies, UC San Francisco researchers have created the first functioning human thymus tissue from embryonic stem cells in the laboratory.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Tumor-Activated Protein Promotes Cancer Spread
Researchers report that cancers physically alter cells in the lymphatic system to promote the spread of disease.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Cell Therapy Promise Highlighted at UCSF Symposium
Old-line pharmaceutical companies and maturing biotech businesses both are graybeards compared to newer ventures focused on cell therapy.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Scientific News
Health Risks of Saturated Fats Aggravated by Immune Response
Research shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
Inciting an Immune Attack On Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
Inciting an Immune Attack on Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
Inflammation Linked to Colon Cancer Metastasis
A new Arizona State University research study led by Biodesign Institute executive director Raymond DuBois has identified for the first time the details of how inflammation triggers colon cancer cells to spread to other organs, or metastasize.
New Strategy for Combating Adenoviruses
Using an animal model they developed, Saint Louis University and Utah State university researchers have identified a strategy that could keep a common group of viruses called adenoviruses from replicating and causing sickness in humans.
Major Advance Toward More Effective, Long-Lasting Flu Vaccine
Collaboration shows vaccine candidate can produce powerful ‘broadly neutralizing antibodies’ in animal models.
Immune System: Help for Killer Cells
A study from the University of Bonn may show the way to more effective vaccines.
Protein Found to Control Inflammatory Response
A new Northwestern Medicine study shows that a protein called POP1 prevents severe inflammation and, potentially, diseases caused by excessive inflammatory responses.
A Leap Forward in Vaccinating Against HIV
A team of scientists has developed an experimental vaccine candidate that successfully stimulates the immune system activity in animal models necessary to stop HIV infection.
MRI Scanners Can Steer Therapeutics to Specific Target Sites
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered MRI scanners, normally used to produce images, can steer cell-based, tumour busting therapies to specific target sites in the body.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!