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Maternal Immune Activation - MIA

Parental asthma and risk of autism spectrum disorder in offspring: a population and family-based case-control study
Published: 2019
SYNOPSIS

Children of mothers with asthma are at increased risk of developing autism, highlighting the importance of studying environmental risk factors during pregnancy.

Citation

Gong T, Lundholm C, Rejno G, et al. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2019 Feb 11.

 

Summary

This large observational study reports that children of mothers with asthma are at increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study looked at all children born in Sweden between 1992 and 2007, including almost 23,000 children with ASD. The researchers posit that maternal immune activation during pregnancy may represent a biological mechanism explaining the association. The increased ASD risk could not be explained by socioeconomic, demographic, or genetic factors, underscoring “the importance of investigating other maternal environmental factors.”

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Prenatal stress, maternal immune dysregulation, and their association with autism spectrum disorders
Published: 2018
SYNOPSIS

Two prenatal exposures—stress and maternal immune dysregulation—are associated with autism, probably in combination with other genetic and environmental risk factors.

Citation

Beversdorf DQ, Stevens HE, Jones KL. Current Psychiatry Reports. 2018;20:76.

 

Summary

Prenatal stress and disruption of a pregnant woman’s immune response (“maternal immune activation”) are two environmental factors associated with the increased incidence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the fact that, in many cases, these prenatal exposures do not result in ASD suggests an “interaction with multiple other risks.” Some evidence points to greater susceptibility to prenatal stress and maternal immune dysregulation in male offspring.

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