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Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)

Prenatal Exposure to Autism-Specific Maternal Autoantibodies Alters Proliferation of Cortical Neural Precursor Cells, Enlarges Brain, and Increases Neuronal Size in Adult Animals.


PMID 25535268

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect up to 1 in 68 children. Autism-specific autoantibodies directed against fetal brain proteins have been found exclusively in a subpopulation of mothers whose children were diagnosed with ASD or maternal autoantibody-related autism. We tested the impact of autoantibodies on brain development in mice by transferring human antigen-specific IgG directly into the cerebral ventricles of embryonic mice during cortical neurogenesis. We show that autoantibodies recognize radial glial cells during development. We also show that prenatal exposure to autism-specific maternal autoantibodies increased stem cell proliferation in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the embryonic neocortex, increased adult brain size and weight, and increased the size of adult cortical neurons. We propose that prenatal exposure to autism-specific maternal autoantibodies directly affects radial glial cell development and presents a viable pathologic mechanism for the maternal autoantibody-related prenatal ASD risk factor.