Altered Cytokine and BDNF Levels in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Yvonne M.Y. Han (Corresponding Author), Suk Yu Yau, Melody M.Y. Chan, Chun Kwok Wong, Agnes S. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown that immunological factors are involved in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The present study examined whether immunological abnormalities are associated with cognitive and behavioral deficits in children with ASD and whether children with ASD show different immunological biomarkers and brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF levels than typically developing (TD) children. Sixteen children with TD and 18 children with ASD, aged 6–18 years, voluntarily participated in the study. Participants’ executive functions were measured using neuropsychological tests, and behavioral measures were measured using parent ratings. Immunological measures were assessed by measuring the participants’ blood serum levels of chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) and chemokine ligand 5 (CCL5). Children with ASD showed greater deficits in cognitive functions as well as altered levels of immunological measures when compared to TD children, and their cognitive functions and behavioral deficits were significantly associated with increased CCL5 levels and decreased BDNF levels. These results provide evidence to support the notion that altered immune functions and neurotrophin deficiency are involved in the pathogenesis of ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number460
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022


  • autism
  • BDNF
  • biomarkers
  • cognitive function
  • immunologic function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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