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Open Access Highly Accessed Hypothesis

Neuro-inflammation, blood-brain barrier, seizures and autism

Theoharis C Theoharides1234* and Bodi Zhang12

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Immunopharmacology and Drug Discovery Laboratory, Department of Molecular Physiology and Pharmacology, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA

2 Departments of Biochemistry, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA

3 Departments of Internal Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA

4 Departments of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center, 136 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA, USA

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Journal of Neuroinflammation 2011, 8:168  doi:10.1186/1742-2094-8-168

Published: 30 November 2011

Abstract

Many children with Autism Spectrum Diseases (ASD) present with seizure activity, but the pathogenesis is not understood. Recent evidence indicates that neuro-inflammation could contribute to seizures. We hypothesize that brain mast cell activation due to allergic, environmental and/or stress triggers could lead to focal disruption of the blood-brain barrier and neuro-inflammation, thus contributing to the development of seizures. Treating neuro-inflammation may be useful when anti-seizure medications are ineffective.

Keywords:
Autism; Blood-Brain Barrier; Mast cells; Neuroinflammation; Flavonoids