Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder whose typical features are social interaction and communication challenges, and limited and repetitive patterns of behaviour. The results, guided by researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, revealed that gauging the levels of proteins, namely thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) alone would vary from 74 to 76 per cent.
However, utilizing both proteins at same time — which were earlier recognised as potential biomarkers in the blood — the diagnostic exactness could increase up to 82 per cent, the researchers said.
For the study, published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, the team consisted 30 boys with ASD and 30 normally-developing boys, aged 2-8 years.
The results showed that TSH levels were considerably lower in ASD boys, however IL-8 levels were significantly high, implying that TSH levels may be useful for evaluating specific ASD phenotypes.
These data indicate that data on hormone status and inflammation together provides greater diagnostic precision for the diagnosis of ASD, the researchers said.
“Autism is a very heterogeneous disorder, and if we can identify biomarkers for even a subgroup of autism patients, then that would be extremely helpful not only for early diagnosis but also for the development of therapeutics,” said Dwight C. German from the University of Texas.