MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Germany –
Source: Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin If certain autoantibodies from the mother get into the brain of the unborn child, serious inflammations can occur. Graphic: DZNCommon press release from the Charité and the DZNESDespite the maternal immune system, problems that occur during pregnancy could possibly lead to impaired brain development in the unborn child. This is suggested by studies by the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), which are based on laboratory tests and additional human findings. According to the study results, embryonic damage caused by so-called autoantibodies could be a hitherto unobserved cause of behavioral problems that occur in diseases such as autism, schizophrenia and ADHD. The results of the research are published in the journal Annals of Neurology *. During pregnancy, antibodies from the maternal blood pass through the umbilical cord into the embryonic circulation in order to protect the developing child from infections. But not all maternal antibodies are directed against foreign substances and serve to ward off pathogens. Some antibodies – the so-called autoantibodies – bind the body’s own tissue and can thus cause damage, for example, as autoimmune diseases show. As well as the beneficial antibodies, a pregnant woman passes the potentially harmful autoantibodies to her unborn baby. This could favor the development of behavioral disorders in children, as current studies in animal models suggest. Initial data from human studies support these results. The current study, conducted by Privatdozent Dr. med. Harald Prüß from the Department of Neurology and Experimental Neurology at Campus Charité Mitte and DZNE Berlin, focused on an autoantibody that targets a specific protein on the surface of brain cells. This molecule, termed the NMDA receptor, is necessary for nerve cell circuitry and normal brain development. “The NMDA receptor antibody is a relatively common autoantibody. Data from donated blood suggest that up to one percent of the population could carry this particular autoantibody in their blood. The causes are largely unclear, “explains Privatdozent Dr. med. Prüß. If this autoantibody reaches the brain, severe inflammation can occur. However, most carriers are free of such symptoms because the blood-brain barrier, a filtering tissue that surrounds the blood vessels of the brain, is usually barely passable to antibodies. Unless this barrier is damaged or is not fully developed, as with an early-stage embryo. “We hypothesized that the NMDA receptor antibodies enter the brain of the embryo and become subtle in this important phase of brain development but cause lasting disruption, “explains Privatdozent Dr. Prüß. In fact, in mice, the maternal autoantibodies reached a high level of the brain of the embryo. As a result, NMDA receptors, altered physiological functions and impaired neuronal development were reduced. The offspring showed behavioral problems and some brain areas were smaller compared to healthy animals. “This hitherto unknown form of pregnancy-related brain diseases is reminiscent of psychiatric disorders caused by rubella or chickenpox pathogens. Even with such infections, there is only a short-term effect on the brain, but can have lifelong consequences, “says the neurologist. In humans, initial analysis of data from a group of 225 mothers suggests that these autoantibodies actually occur more frequently in women who have a child with neurobiological developmental disorder or psychiatric illness. The mothers themselves seem to be protected by the blood-brain barrier. “Further studies are needed to reinforce the link between maternal NMDA receptor antibodies and psychiatric disorders in humans,” said Privatdozent Dr. med. Prüß. “However, if future research confirms our thesis, a search for such antibodies in pregnant women would have to be taken into account. Then, if appropriate, a treatment to remove the autoantibodies could be initiated in order to prevent the otherwise lifelong health effects on the child. “The current results could explain why previous studies have no clear link between NMDA receptor antibodies and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia could prove. Because in the newborn, the antibodies transmitted by the mother are broken down after a few weeks. Until now, when patients were sought for these autoantibodies in mostly young adulthood, they had long since disappeared. * Jurek B et al. Human gestational NMDAR autoantibodies impair neonatal murine brain function. Ann Neurol. 2019 Jul 20. doi: 10.1002 / ana.25552
About the Charité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinThe Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe with around 100 clinics and institutes at 4 campuses and 3,001 beds. In 2018, 152,693 full and partial inpatient cases and 692,920 outpatient cases were treated here. At the Charité, research, teaching and health care are closely linked. Across the Group, around 18,000 employees work for the Berlin University Medical Center. This makes the Charité one of the largest employers in Berlin. In 2018, the Charité achieved total revenues of more than € 1.8 billion. With more than 170.9 million euros in third-party funding, the Charité reached a new record. At the medical faculty, which is one of the largest in Germany, more than 7,500 students of human medicine and dentistry are trained. In addition, there are 619 training places in 9 health professions.www.charite.deAbout the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) The DZNE researches neurodegenerative diseases with the aim of developing new strategies for prevention, therapy and patient care. The DZNE has ten locations nationwide (Berlin, Bonn, Dresden, Göttingen, Magdeburg, Munich, Tübingen, Rostock / Greifswald, Ulm and Witten) and a total of about 1,100 employees. It cooperates closely with universities, their clinics and other partners. The DZNE is a member of the Helmholtz Association.www.dzne.deDownloads
On the left of the original publication Department of neurology with Experimental neurology, CharitéDZNE, location Berlin
Contact privatdozent Dr. Harald PrüßKlinik of neurology with Experimental neurology, campus Charité MitteCharité – Universitätsmedizin Berlint: 49 30 / 450 560 399Zurück to the Overview
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure need be perfect.