Betty Diamond and her colleagues at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Long Island, New York, demonstrated the presence of antibodies that bind to brain tissue in the blood serum of approximately 10 percent of mothers of a child with autism spectrum disorder. More than half of these women also have anti-nuclear antibodies. Autoimmune disease is also more prevalent in these women than in the general population.
The Diamond laboratory has devised a method for generating unique anti-brain antibodies from B cells in the blood of this subset of mothers with autoreactivity. The researchers are planning to test whether the antibodies might generate an autism-like neurodevelomental phenotype in mice when present in the circulation of the gestating female.