Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2015, Article ID 531518, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/531518
Review Article

Inflammatory Cytokines: Potential Biomarkers of Immunologic Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders

1Department of Children’s Health, Hunan Children’s Hospital, Hunan, China
2Department of Neurochemistry, NY State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, New York, NY 10314, USA

Received 8 October 2014; Accepted 2 January 2015

Academic Editor: Elaine Hatanaka

Copyright © 2015 Ningan Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Autism is a disorder of neurobiological origin characterized by problems in communication and social skills and repetitive behavior. After more than six decades of research, the etiology of autism remains unknown, and no biomarkers have been proven to be characteristic of autism. A number of studies have shown that the cytokine levels in the blood, brain, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of autistic subjects differ from that of healthy individuals; for example, a series of studies suggests that interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) are significantly elevated in different tissues in autistic subjects. However, the expression of some cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-2, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), is controversial, and different studies have found various results in different tissues. In this review, we focused on several types of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines that might affect different cell signal pathways and play a role in the pathophysiological mechanism of autistic spectrum disorders.