Scientists discover mechanism that links autism and intestinal inflammation

Scientists discover mechanism that links autism and intestinal inflammation

The new research shows how interleukin-17a (IL-17a) can alter the trajectory of immune system development and cause gut inflammation. A new study from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both US, have discovered that the molecule interleukin-17a (IL-17a) can lead to both autism and changes in the microbiome in mouse foetuses. The discovery may help develop future therapies for inflammation. In four studies beginning in 2016, study co-senior authors Gloria Choi and Jun Huh traced how elevated IL-17a during pregnancy acts on neural receptors in a specific region of the foetal brain to alter circuit development, leading to autism-like behavioural symptoms in mouse models. The new research, published in Immunity , shows how IL-17a can act to also alter the trajectory of immune system development. First, the team confirmed that maternal immune activation (MIA) leads to enhanced susceptibility to intestinal inflammation in offspring by injecting pregnant mice with poly(I:C). Their offspring, but not the offspring of mothers in an unaffected control group, exhibited autism-like symptoms and also gut inflammation when exposed to other inflammatory stimuli. LIVE WEBINAR Sign up for this free webinar and discover how refined cell atlases can provide comprehensive roadmaps for health and disease. […]

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