Método para predecir factores de riesgo de autismo en la sangre de la madre

Científicos aseguran haber encontrado un método para predecir factores de riesgo de autismo en la sangre de la madre

El término autismo no se refiere a un único síndrome sino a muchos y diferentes. (Crédito imagen: Wikimedia Commons).
El término autismo no se refiere a un único síndrome sino a muchos y diferentes.

Solemos pensar – erróneamente – en el autismo como un trastorno único y bien definido.

En realidad los trastornos del espectro autista (TEA) son muchos y diversos, por lo que podemos visualizar el término “autismo” como un paraguas, empleado para acoger a un amplio rango de funciones y comportamientos, que surgen por variaciones en la conectividad cerebral.

Hay muchas cosas que no sabemos acerca del origen del autismo, si bien cabe recordar (lo haré las veces que sean necesarias) que lo que sí sabemos es que no está relacionado con las vacunas.

Y bueno, otra de las cosas que sí conocemos es que existe un tipo en particular (responsable de casi el 20% de los diagnósticos de TEA) que está asociado al sistema inmunológico de la madre.

En estos casos, las defensas de la madre atacan al cerebro del feto en desarrollo, provocando lo que los ingleses llaman “MAR-autism” o autismo relacionado con los autoanticuerpos maternos. (Un autoanticuerpo es un anticuerpo desarrollado por el sistema inmunitario, que actúa directamente en contra de uno o más antígenos del propio individuo).

Confieso que este detalle me sorprendió sobremanera cuando comenzaron las sospechas, allá por la primera década del siglo.

Siempre creí que el sistema inmunológico de la madre consideraba al feto parte del propio organismo en todas las ocasiones, y que no existía ninguna reacción de rechazo.

Afortunadamente es así en la mayor parte de los embarazos, pero como vemos existen, ciertas reacciones enzimáticas que pueden trastocar la integridad cerebral del nonato.

Centrándose en este tipo de autismo en concreto, un equipo de investigadores de la Universidad de California en Davis, y de la prestigiosa Universidad de Stanford, han ideado una herramienta llamada ELISA, capaz de ayudar – por primera vez – a establecer el riesgo que una madre tiene de traer al mundo un hijo aquejado por el TEA asociado a los autoanticuerpos maternos.


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