There have been reports of lymphocytic colitis and small bowel enteropathy in children with regressive autism.
In this study, physicians from London, England, evaluated gastric antral biopsies from 25 affected children. The team compared these to 10 with Crohn's disease, 10 with Helicobacter pylori infection, and 10 histologically normal controls.
They ensured that all autistic, Crohn's, and normal patients were H. pylori negative.
The team stained the snap-frozen antral biopsies for CD3, CD4, CD8, T cells, HLA-DR, IgG, heparan sulphate proteoglycan, IgM, IgA, and C1q.
Cell proliferation was assessed with Ki67.
The team identified distinct patterns of gastritis.
They found diffuse, predominantly CD4+ infiltration in H. pylori, and focal-enhanced gastritis in Crohn's disease and autism.
Gastritis in autism was distinguished by striking dominance of CD8+ cells, together with increased intraepithelial lymphocytes in surface, foveolar and glandular epithelium.
|Gastritis in autism was distinguished by dominance of CD8+ cells.|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
They team determined that proliferation of foveolar epithelium was similarly increased in autism, Crohn's disease and H. pylori compared to controls.
They also found colocalized deposition of IgG and C1q on the subepithelial basement membrane and the surface epithelium in 20 of the autistic patients.
Dr Franco Torrente and colleagues concluded, "These findings demonstrate a focal CD8-dominated gastritis in autistic children, with novel features".
"The lesion is distinct from the recently recognized focal gastritis of Crohn's disease, which is not CD8-dominated".
"As in the small intestine, there is epithelial deposition of IgG".