Dysregulation in IL-6 receptors is associated with upregulated IL-17A related signaling in CD4+ T cells of children with autism.


Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: [Email]


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous syndrome characterized by dysregulations in speech and social interactions as well as repetitive and stereotypical behavioral patterns in which immune system plays a significant role. IL-6, an essential cytokine for polarization of Th0 cells into Th17 cells has been demonstrated to be crucial in the etiology of ASD in past studies both in humans and mice. Th17 cells are also believed to be central players in the pathogenesis of ASD through release of IL-17A. However, there is still insufficient data regarding identification of Th17 cells with respect to IL-6 signaling in ASD subjects. Therefore, this study explored IL-6 receptors (IL-6R/sIL-6R) and Th17 (p-STAT3/IL-17A/IL-23R) related markers comprehensively in the blood of typically-developing control (TDC, n = 35) and ASD children (n = 45). Our data show that there is enhanced sIL-6R levels in plasma and CD4+ T cells of ASD subjects as compared to TDC group. Increased sIL-6R signaling is associated with upregulated Th17 development in ASD subjects. Further, severe ASD subjects have higher inflammation in terms of IL-6/IL-17A related signaling as compared to moderate ASD patients. Furthermore, treatment of CD4 + T cells in vitro with IL-6 leads to much greater upregulation of p-STAT3, and IL-17A in ASD subjects than similarly treated CD4+ T cells in TDC group. Antagonism of IL-6 signaling by SC144 in vitro led to blockade of IL-6 mediated effects on CD4+ T cells. These data display unequivocally that IL-6 signaling components are dysregulated which play a crucial in enhancement of Th17 development in ASD subjects.


Autism,CD4+ T cells,IL-17A,IL-6,sIL-6R,

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