Intestinal permeability correlates with behavioural severity in very young children with ASD: A preliminary study
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Systemic inflammation is known to alter behaviour, and since it has been reported that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have higher levels of circulating cytokines, it has been hypothesized that systemic inflammation may exacerbate behaviours characteristic of ASD. The acute phase proteins α-2-macroglobulin, C-reactive protein, haptoglobin, serum amyloid P, serum amyloid A, ferritin and tissue plasminogen activator, as well as markers of intestinal permeability (intestinal fatty acid binding protein and lipopolysaccharide) were quantitated in the plasma of very young children with ASD. Behaviour severity was measured using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale (VABS). An increase in circulating I-FABP correlated with more severe deficits in communication, communication + social interaction as well as maladaptive behaviour. The acute phase protein haptoglobin was associated with more severe social interaction and communication + social interaction. In summary, I-FABP, a marker of intestinal epithelial damage, was associated with more severe behavioural phenotypes in very young children with ASD. In addition, the acute phase protein, haptoglobin, was associated with behaviour.