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Immune, Autonomic, and Endocrine Dysregulation in Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders Versus Unaffected Controls

 

Emily L. Casanova1,
Julia L. Sharp2,
Stephen M. Edelson3,
Desmond P. Kelly1, 4,
Estate M. Sokhadze1,
Manuel F. Casanova1, 4

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of South Carolina
School of Medicine Greenville, South Carolina, USA
2Department of Statistics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
3Autism Research Institute (ARI), San Diego, California, USA
4Department of Pediatrics, Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital, Greenville, South Carolina, USA
E-mail: casanove@greenvillemed.sc.edu
Received: 1-October-2019
Revised: 23-October-2019
Accepted: 30-October-2019
Online first: 31-October-2019

Abstract

Background: A growing body of literature suggests etiological overlap between Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)/hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and some cases of autism, although this relationship is poorly delineated. In addition, immune, autonomic, and endocrine dysregulation are reported in both conditions and may be relevant to their respective etiologies.

Aims: To study symptom overlap in these two comorbid spectrum conditions.

Methods and Procedures: We surveyed 702 adults aged 25+ years on a variety of EDS/HSD-related health topics, comparing individuals with EDS/HSD, autism, and unaffected controls.

Outcomes and Results: The autism group reported similar though less severe symptomology as the EDS/HSD group, especially in areas of immune/autonomic/endocrine dysregulation, connective tissue abnormalities (i.e., skin, bruising/bleeding), and chronic pain. EDS/HSD mothers with autistic children reported more immune symptoms than EDS/HSD mothers without, suggesting the maternal immune system could play a heritable role in these conditions (p = 0.0119).

Conclusions and Implications: These data suggest that EDS/HSD and autism share aspects of immune/autonomic/endocrine dysregulation, pain, and some tissue fragility, which is typically more severe in the former. This overlap, as well as documented comorbidity, suggests some forms of autism may be hereditary connective tissue disorders (HCTD).

Key words: hereditary connective tissue disorders, immune system, collagen, dysautonomia, mast cell activation disorders

 

Citation: Casanova, E. L., Sharp, J. L., Edelson, S. M., Kelly, D. P., Sokhadze, E. M., Casanova, M. F. Immune, Autonomic, and Endocrine Dysregulation in Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders Versus Unaffected Controls. Journal for ReAttach Therapy and Developmental Diversities. https://doi.org/10.26407/2019jrtdd.1.20

Copyright ©2019 Casanova, E. L., Sharp, J. L., Edelson, S. M., Kelly, D. P., Sokhadze, E. M., Casanova, M. F. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Corresponding address:
Emily L. Casanova
Patewood Medical Campus, 200A Patewood Dr. Greenville, SC 29615
Tel: +1 (864) 454-1082
E-mail: casanove@greenvillemed.sc.edu; emily.casanova@prismahealth.org; scienceoveracuppa@gmail.com

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