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Autoimmunity and Autism

Brain colorsBy Teresa Conrick

A recent study  just came out that seemed important.  It showed that some children [thirty-six percent] with an Autism diagnosis had significantly higher serum S100B protein levels than healthy controls and that those with severe autism had significantly higher serum S100B protein than children with mild to moderate autism.  The study was looking at levels to determine autoimmunity in Autism and since my daughter has both severe symptoms of Autism and has been positive for autoimmunity on the antinuclear antibodies test, this study seemed very relevant.   Though 36% does not seem like a huge number, there may be factors involved lowering it.  It seemed reasonable to explore this more as to why this would be.  More data can be obtained too too, it appears-- "Elevated S100B levels in biological fluids (CSF, blood, urine, saliva, amniotic fluid) are thus regarded as a biomarker of pathological conditions, including perinatal brain distress, acute brain injury, brain tumors, neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative disorders, psychiatric disorders. In the majority of these conditions, high S100B levels offer an indicator of cell damage when standard diagnostic procedures are still silent."

This S100B, according to the Autism study,  "...is a calcium-binding protein that is produced primarily by astrocytes. Increased serum S100B protein levels reflect neurological damage. Autoimmunity may have a role in the pathogenesis of autism in some patients. Autoantibodies may cross the blood–brain barrier and combine with brain tissue antigens, forming immune complexes and resulting in neurological damage......"Furthermore, S100B protein may act as a cytokine [46,50,51], and in vitro studies have shown that, at high levels, S100B protein can induce the neuronal expression and secretion of proinflammatory IL-6. Elevated levels of S100B have been detected in the CSF of MS patients during acute phases or exacerbations of the disease [50], and it has therefore been proposed that elevated S100B protein may be indicative of active cell injury [51] and can reflect an axonal and glial pathology."

The conclusion, "S100B protein levels were elevated in autistic children and significantly correlated to autistic severity. This may indicate the presence of an underlying neuropathological condition in autistic patients."  They did not find a correlation to the levels and autoimmunity but recommend further research, "is warranted to investigate the possible link between serum S100B protein levels and other autoantibodies, which are possible indicators of autoimmunity to central nervous system in autism."

Now that would seem to be the end of this topic, bleak and uncertain as to the source of the high levels, but the fact that more severely affected children had higher levels warranted me to check it out.  A picture emerged that related back to my investigation of melanin and its connection to Autism and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Cancer and interestingly yet alarmingly,  Melanoma   Some research to make that point:

- "S100 proteins as cancer biomarkers with focus on S100B in malignant melanoma: "

Circulating S100B levels very sensitively detect metastatic growth of malignant melanoma, particularly in stage IV disease where S100B is certainly superior to other laboratory parameters. S100B concentrations reflect tumor mass.

- "Role of serum S100B and PET-CT in follow-up of patients with cutaneous melanoma:"

Disease progression was confirmed in 81.7% of patients (in 86.5% of patients with clinical signs of disease progression and in 69.7% of asymptomatic patients with elevated S100B) "

- "Tumour Marker: Protein S100B"  (HERE)
Protein S100B is a member of a family of calcium binding proteins. S100B is present in astrocytes and glial cells in the brain and also in melanocytes. .... The plasma concentration of S100B has been shown to be related to tumour burden

Now this is not the first time that I have paired Autism with Cancer and that is a frightening concept.  I don't want to create panic but where is the alarm and furor to research and help our very sick children?
Since studies has shown mercury in the recipe of regression, into an Autism diagnosis, that seemed to be another avenue to investigate with this protein, S100B:

"Cerebrospinal fluid S100B increases reversibly in neonates of methyl mercury-intoxicated pregnant rats."  (HERE)
The increment of CSF S100B in neonates exposed to MeHg reinforces the view that increased S100B is related to damage in the nervous system and that S100B could be a marker for MeHg-neurotoxicity. Although the cellular mechanism related to MeHg-induced increase in S100B content in CSF remains unknown, our results suggest the use of S100B as a peripheral marker of brain damage induced by MeHg.

"Methylmercury increases S100B content in rat cerebrospinal fluid(HERE)

Our data show that the amounts of S100B increased in CSF of rats after chronic MeHg exposure. In this regard, several studies have demonstrated the existence of a correlation between some injuries of CNS and S100B levels in CSF and serum (Ingebrigtsen et al., 1999;Wong et al., 1999;Wunderlich et al., 1999; Walz et al., 2000; Lara et al., 2001; Portela et al., 2002). However, studies dealing with the correlation between S100B levels and metal-induced neurotoxicity are scarce.... These data reinforce the view that increased S100B protein content in CSF is related to damage in CNS.Concluding, the present study shows, for the first time, an increase of S100B levels in rat CSF after chronic exposure to a neurotoxic metal. From a toxicological point of view, these new data are extremely important because introduce S100B protein as a new marker for MeHg-induced neurotoxicity...taking into account the relationship between S100B levels and MeHg exposure, it is possible that, in the near future, this glial protein could
become a useful marker for biological monitoring of individuals occupationally/environmentally exposed to this neurotoxicant."

I wondered if Thimerosal, the vaccine mercury that is still in use today in some vaccines, like the Flu vaccine here in the states and around the world, could also cause an increase in S100B. This study  seemed to indicate that it was very possible, so I asked Boyd E. Haley, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky Chemistry Department, what his thoughts on S100B were, based on this research.  His reply, "Yes, the data on thimerosal and mercury effects on S100B levels in blood look like a good marker for both toxic metal exposure and ASDs.  It should definitely be studied as a potential biomarker for ASD.”  His thoughts mirror mine in that it doesn't seem like enough work in this area has happened in regards to Autism and possible biomarkers yet here were possible puzzle pieces showing a connecting picture. It appears that some pharmacological researchers are looking into S100B inhibition in both neurological diseases and cancer -- their product goal -- "ameliorates increases in pathology in response to injury and environmental toxins."

If there is a possibility that there are other ways to obtain S100B levels, it may be helpful to explore.  If cancer, tumors and Autism are coming up with high S100B levels,  then it seems very important to see if this subset of children with diagnoses of Autism might actually be under-reported, as blood serum levels may be only telling us a small part of a bigger picture. Why is it that NIH and more specifically NIMH, steering the research for Autism via the IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committe) under Dr. Tom Insel, is not looking into any of this environmental research and biomarkers for Autism?  If mercury and Thimerosal can cause brain damage and S100B is a marker of that, it is a very sad day in our country that a government agency, responsible for research of cause and treatments in this epidemic of Autism, is negligent and appearing derelict on their job.  Autism Speaks, though not a government agency but a private, public-friendly organization, securing millions of dollars a year from families, organizations, businesses and loving friends and families to thousands of affected children, has, like IACC, used donated or grant money for research that is often disgracefully and ridiculously not even close to the correct science of Autism research.

If someone were to pick obsolete and incongruent studies to hunt for the cause of Autism, one would not have to look further than the gems IACC has funded and researched.  The blatant ignorance and avoidance of environmental involvement in the "neurological damage" that is being shown in these studies is horrendous.  It should not be tolerated anymore.  We must speak out against this active avoidance of the truth.

Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.



My husband and son we know for sure has white spots on the brain, or in the brain. For my son two white spots the size of quarters toward the front of the brain. For my husband lots of tiny pin prick sizes of white spots.

Tip toes to flat feet. Every been around many of those kids with autism when they are some what older. The flat feet will jar the house down.

They have hypotonic muscles tone. That means the muscles are looser than normal as opposed to some kids with brian injuries whose muscles are so tight that the hands are drawn down on their wrist. If hypotonic muscles are weak enough they will end up in the wheel chair.

Again for my son that was the case tip toes to flat feet, neurologist and his little rubber handle says hypotonic muscle tone but not enough to put him in a wheel chair - thank goodness.

There is plenty of stuff for the medical people to look for besides psych tests. It would be humerous if it did not make me so mad.


One of my son's injuries is called an arachnoid cyst at the base of his skull and his cousin toe walks, but appears to have no other issues other than the night terrors and red die allergy. I did find some information about toe walking from someone with the same symptoms in 2 of their family members:
"---toe walking may not be a benign symptom. My daughter toe
walked, we called her our little ballerina. Then she had very bad "growing
pains" as she grew, was dx with mild scoliosis as a young teen and always seem
to have lots of "little issues". Fast forward to young adulthood and all sorts
of issues cropped up. She was finally diagnosed with Occult Tethered Cord and
all of her issues made sense. She had surgery in 2008 and felt like her life
was given back to her. (she still has problems due to the nerve damage this
caused, but the younger it is treated the more successful the outcome) OTC is
part of the spectrum of neural-tube defects. Her brother has a posterior fossa


I have oftened wondered why some of the ASD kids, once walking normal as children, then are on their tip toes later on. Then into adult life in Wheel chairs. Many of them get too fatigued to walk much. Some looked like they may have MS or Chronic Fatigue.
Why wasn't any DR concerned about this following these children?

As well all the illness, immune problems ASD kids have, like someone with cancer.
Its just been recently some of the DR's are testing ASD kids for Nagalase and finding super high levels in these children.
My son's looks like he has cancer, by his levels.
Also found out recently by a special 3D MRI that my ASD child, also has lesions in his brain
that relate to MS, and lack of blood flowing to the brain and back through the body. Much of this is caused by inflammation, viruses, toxic over load, even with all the bio medical still he presents such an ill child.
He is not alone, but our Gov. is not interested or listening to parents fears.
Its never been the Gov. to step up and do the right thing.
Look how HIV awareness had to shift, it took the public to shake up the system.
We need more public support. Thank A.S. for acting like another Gov. agency, and robbing families of treatment and care for their children. How can you "A.S." sleep at night?


My husband, and daughter and son have all tested and did have high ANA rates - we have known this for the last 30 years.
Antinuclear antibodies, has something to do with the body attacking itself. There are also high SED rates in this mess too. There are alos low L- carnitine levels. High cholestrol levels, and anemic too -- but we can't get an answer of why a male not menstrating would be anemic. And what is it they need is it Iron, or is it too much B12 in the blood and not being absorbed into the cell were it is needed - just what. IT is also a messed up Kreb cycle in the I and III complex. And the messed up Kreb cycle is acquired not genetic. We know all this stuff and what do we get - a truck pulling up in front of my house bringing in an oxygen machine. Yeah, that is right - they are selling us "Air"!
Do you get that - selling us "air"
And ice to Eskimos too I suppose.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for pointing out this study and related research!

Perhaps Al may also be associated with elevated S100B protein levels in our children, though this is all I've found so far:


"Furthermore, aluminum caused marked elevation in the levels of the glial markers (glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S100B) and proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha and IL-1beta) in both brain areas."

How often is neurological damage induced by a misdirected immune system?


Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention! Isn't the regressive autism cohort estimated at something like 30-35% of cases? Could the autoimmune and regressive cases overlap? My son has Regressive Autism. He once tested positive for myelin basic protein antibodies. My doctor, also the parent of autistic kids, tested my ANA levels during my annual exam. This is not typically an annual exam type test and I had no physical complaints signaling possible autoimmune disorder. But she knew I was the mother of an autistic son and therefore was more likely to test positive. And what do you know....I have high ANA levels! Now back to my son, serious petite mal epilepsy that is only treatable by long term pulse prednisone, which takes down his brain inflammation. What is causing this brain inflammation? Could it be autoimmunity? Definitely bringing this info to my neuro appt at the end of the month. Thank you again!



I seriously must be missing something, how can these studies be passed over for "fat mommies"..not that I don't understand how a mom with gestational diabetes often delivers early, putting the small baby in the category with preemies and post term small ones getting the same doses of vaccines that are handled by babies that have more development of the brain and /or are bigger.


In the late 90's it appears there was significant research developing links to measles, rubella, HSV, and other viral illnesses to autism. Instead of evolving, it seems the research took a turn, when measles was found to be "slightly" overrepresented in an autoimmune response affecting the brain, the research seemed to be quickly steered away to implicate anything but a vaccine possibility. I believe we will not find the truth as long as science is paid to falsify and lie.
Serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with brain autoantibodies in autism.
Singh VK, Lin SX, Yang VC.
College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-1065, USA.
Considering an autoimmunity and autism connection, brain autoantibodies to myelin basic protein (anti-MBP) and neuron-axon filament protein (anti-NAFP) have been found in autistic children. In this current study, we examined associations between virus serology and autoantibody by simultaneous analysis of measles virus antibody (measles-IgG), human herpesvirus-6 antibody (HHV-6-IgG), anti-MBP, and anti-NAFP. We found that measles-IgG and HHV-6-IgG titers were moderately higher in autistic children but they did not significantly differ from normal controls. Moreover, we found that a vast majority of virus serology-positive autistic sera was also positive for brain autoantibody: (i) 90% of measles-IgG-positive autistic sera was also positive for anti-MBP; (ii) 73% of measles-IgG-positive autistic sera was also positive for anti-NAFP; (iii) 84% of HHV-6-IgG-positive autistic sera was also positive for anti-MBP; and (iv) 72% of HHV-6-IgG-positive autistic sera was also positive for anti-NAFP. This study is the first to report an association between virus serology and brain autoantibody in autism; it supports the hypothesis that a virus-induced autoimmune response may play a causal role in autism.example:


Just two days ago the news reported a very high and rising rate of cases of melanoma in "Young People."

Meanwhile my neighbor's wife that ended up in the hospital a couple of days ago, heart trouble. They were told by the heart doctor that new thoughts on all of this is emerging. Like new studies are pointing to the importance of vitamin D and how it is all linked to the sun, the cholestrol levels, the immune system, and to the heart.

We all maybe concentrating on the brain, fighting the pharma that is joined at the hip with government agencies all trying to be a plugging up all those holes of protest on vaccine injury while it is leaking out in heart research.


Her husband says she has been so percautious all these years with sunscreen that maybe she has not been getting enough vitamin D? She also has had trouble for years with her cholesterol inspite of a healthy diet.

My husband has all kinds of large dark brown freckles on his shoulders. He always told me that it was from a very bad sunburn. Well so does my son, but they just appeared at a certain age -- and not from a sunburn and peeling.

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