Saturday, January 19, 2013

Biomarker for ASD

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are classified as neurological developmental disorders. Several studies have been carried out to find a candidate biomarker linked to the development of these disorders but without success. Recently, researchers performed a detailed protein analysis of blood plasma from children with ASD and succeeded in identifying peptides consisting of fragments of the complement factor C3 protein, whose natural function is in the immune system. The hope now is that this new set of biomarkers ultimately will lead to a reliable blood-based diagnostic tool. [The immune system and the brain have their hands in each other’s pockets, so to speak, but something unusual must be happening here. This C3 protein, that contributes to innate immunity in the body, is reportedly encoded on chromosome 19 by a gene called C3, hence the short name for this complement factor C3 protein.]

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