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Immunological and Neurogastroimmune Considerations in Autism and Related Conditions

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Learning objectives: 1. Understanding the role of the immune system in connecting gut and brain function. 2. Understanding the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of autism. 3. Exploring novel therapeutic strategies targeting the immune system in autism.

We recently demonstrated that cells of the immune system, macrophages and activated T-lymphocytes, are instrumental in balancing the gut and the brain microbiota. We also demonstrated that anatomic elements of the immune system, deep cervical nodes and meningeal lymphatic vessels, are involved in the pathogenesis of autism with particular reference to accumulation of metabolites and toxicants in the brain with consequent neuroinflammation. These considerations help explaining the therapeutic successes of strategies aimed at stimulating macrophages and rebalancing the gut microbiota through bacterio-therapy achieved with probiotics or fecal transplant. We recently highlighted the role of bacteriophages, phages, in maintaining a healthy microbiota and in balancing the function of the immune system through macrophage polarization. Here we demonstrate how bacterio- and phage-therapy and macrophage stimulation can be combined in one single intervention by fermentation of a hemp protein, edestin, that is structurally similar to the precursor of Gc protein- derived Macrophage Activating Factor (GcMAF).

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Marco Ruggiero MD, PhD

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