Anti-metallothionein IgG and levels of metallothionein in autistic children with GI disease
A J Russo
Mount Saint Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD, USA
Aim: To assess both serum concentration of metallotionein (MT) and anti-metallothionein (anti-MT) immunoglobulin G (IgG) in autistic children with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and controls, and to test the hypothesis that there is an association between the presence of MT, anti-MT IgG, and inflammatory GI disease seen in many children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).
Subjects and methods: ELISAs were used to measure serum MT and anti-MT IgG in 41 autistic children with chronic digestive disease (many with ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia [LNH] and inflammation of the colorectum, small bowel, and/or stomach), and 33 controls (17 age-matched autistic children with no GI disease and 16 age-matched children without autism or GI disease).
Results: Ten of 41 autistic children with chronic digestive disease had high serum concentration of MT compared to only one of the 33 controls (p < 0.01). Thirteen of the 41 autistic children with chronic digestive disease had anti-MT IgG compared to only four of 33 controls (p < 0.01). Nine of 10 (90%) of autistic children with GI disease with high MT levels had a regressive onset (compared to the expected 25 of 41, or 61%, in this group) (p < 0.05), whereas only nine of 13 of the autistic children with GI disease and anti-MT IgG had a regressive onset (70%) which was not significantly higher than the expected. We didn’t find any correlation between severity of GI disease and MT concentration or anti-MT IgG.
Discussion: These results suggest a relationship between MT, anti-MT IgG and GI disease seen in many ASD individuals.
Keywords: autism, metallothionein, anti-metallothionein, GI disease
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