Objectives: The aetiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is multifactorial, sometimes genetic, and may be associated with abnormal immunological responses to peptides from proteins such as gluten. These peptides may cross the blood-brain barrier and affect neurotransmission, resulting in behavioural symptoms consistent with ASD. The aim of this study was to screen for markers of gluten-related immune reactivity in the absence of overt gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with ASD in the United Arab Emirates, a country associated with a high prevalence of ASD but lacking this type of research. Methods: Patients diagnosed with ASD (using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV-based criteria and Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedules) were compared with controls, regarding anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) immunoglobulin (Ig) A and anti-deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) IgA levels. Results: Sixty-six patients with ASD and 101 controls were included. Patients with ASD showed statistically significant lower anti-DGP IgA levels, but no significant difference in anti-tTG IgA levels, versus healthy controls. Correlations between immunological data and clinical symptoms were synergistic, but not statistically significant. Conclusion: ASD may be associated with reduced levels of anti-DGP IgA.
- anti-gliadin antibody
- anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody
- Autism spectrum disorders
- opioid excess theory