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We examined whether plasma concentrations of amyloid beta (Aβ) as protein derivatives play a central role in the etiology of autistic features.
Concentrations of human Aβ (1-42), Aβ (1-40), and Aβ (40/42) in the plasma of 52 autistic children (aged 3-16 years) and 36 age-matched control subjects were determined by using the ELISA technique and were compared.
Compared to control subjects, autistic children exhibited significantly lower concentrations of both Aβ (1-40) and Aβ (1-42) and lower Aβ (40/42) concentration ratio. Receiver operating characteristics curve (ROC) analysis showed that these measurements of Aβ peptides showed high specificity and sensitivity in distinguishing autistic children from control subjects.
Lower concentrations of Aβ (1-42) and Aβ (1-40) were attributed to loss of Aβ equilibrium between the brain and blood, an imbalance that may lead to failure to draw Aβ from the brain and/or impairment of β- and γ- secretase's concentration or kinetics as enzymes involving in Aβ production.