Brief Report: Low Rates of Herpesvirus Detection in Blood of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Controls
Previous research indicates that infection, especially from viruses in the family Herpesviridae, may play a role in the etiology of some cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Using a case-control design and the polymerase chain reaction with site-specific primers, we screened newborn and childhood blood samples for the presence of eight human herpesviruses. Herpesvirus DNA was detected in 4 of 225 ASD individuals and 2 of 235 controls, with the most frequently detected virus being HHV-6B. Although this study does not detect a significant ASD-Herpesviridae association, it is limited by the use of site-specific primers. We suggest that new techniques using bioinformatics to search next-generation sequencing databases will be more revealing of possible ASD-virus associations.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Autism Herpesvirus HHV-6
This research was supported by a grant from the Jonty Foundation. The authors are grateful to Drs. Robert Yolken and Martin Kharrazi for their thoughtful comments on the manuscript. We also thank Dr. William M. McMahon and the University of Utah Autism Research Program for their assistance in ascertainment of samples.
TS conceived of the study, participated in its design, carried out the assays and drafted the manuscript; AT helped conceive the study, participated in its design, contributed to development of laboratory procedures and helped draft the manuscript; LC and GW coordinated the ascertainment and characterization of blood spot sample subjects and helped draft the manuscript. JO and ES provided clinical samples and diagnosed study subjects. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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