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Gangliosides in cerebrospinal fluid in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Journal article
Authors Viviann Nordin
Annika Lekman
Maria E I Johansson
Pam Fredman
Christopher Gillberg
Published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Volume 40
Issue 9
Pages 587-594
ISSN 0012-1622
Publication year 1998
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Section of Neurological Diseases
Pages 587-594
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Autistic Disorder, Cerebrospinal fluid, Diagnosis, Genetics, Child, Child, Preschool, Diagnosis, Differential, Female, G(M1) Ganglioside, Cerebrospinal fluid, Gangliosides, Cerebrospinal fluid, Humans, Infant, Male, Neurologic Examination, Neuropsychological Tests, Reference Values
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences, Psychiatry, Child and adolescent psychiatry


Gangliosides are sialic acid-containing glycolipids found in all cells, especially abundant in nerve cells and mainly situated on outer-membrane surfaces. The aim of this study was to provide data on the concentration of gangliosides in the CSF of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) - 66 with autistic disorder, and 19 with other autism spectrum disorders. The comparison group consisted of 29 children and adolescents, whose CSF had been sampled to exclude acute infectious CNS disorder. The concentrations of the gangliosides GM1, GD1a, GD1b, and GT1b were determined using a microimmunoaffinity technique. The ASD group had a significantly higher concentration of ganglioside GM1 compared with the comparison group. The GM1 increase could not be explained as secondary to other clinical factors. Mean ganglioside levels did not differentiate subgroups with autistic disorder and those with a more atypical clinical picture, nor subgroups with known medical disorders and those with idiopathic autism. Altered patterns of gangliosides in the CNS might reflect important correlates of pathogenesis in autism.

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