After studying the effects of low-levels of ionizing radiation, I began to suspect a link to autism.
I have found a possible mechanism. NK CD 56 cells are very radiosensitive and they have also been implicated as dysfunctional in children with autism. Maybe there is a connection here?
Below are the steps I used in making this link and the relevant citations.
CD 56 NK cells are highly sensitive to ionizing radiation
The conclusion "CD56 (bright) subset of NK cells and this subpopulation was considered as the most radiosensitive one." was found in this article: Doris Vokurková a, Ji_rina Vávrová b, Ji_rí _Sinkora c, Alena Stoklasová a, Václav Bláha b, Martina _Rezá_cová a (2010). Radiosensitivity of CD3_CD8þCD56þ NK cells Radiation Measurements 45 (2010) 1020e1023
The connection to autism for CD 56 cells was found in this article:ABSTRACT: “children with autism found to have abnormalities in function of NK cells, Immune related abnormalities have repeatedly been reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including evidence of immune dysregulation and autoimmune phenomena. NK cells may play an important role in neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. Here we performed a gene expression screen and cellular functional analysis on peripheral blood obtained from 52 children with ASD and 27 typically developing control children enrolled in the case-control CHARGE study. RNA expression of NK cell receptors and effector molecules were significantly upregulated in ASD. Flow cytometric analysis of NK cells demonstrated increased production of perforin, granzyme B, and interferon gamma (IFNc) under resting conditions in children with ASD (p < 0.01). Following NK cell stimulation in the presence of K562 target cells, the cytotoxicity of NK cells was significantly reduced in ASD compared with controls (p < 0.02). Furthermore, under similar stimulation conditions the presence of perforin, granzyme B, and IFNc in NK cells from ASD children was significantly lower compared with controls (p < 0.001). These findings suggest possible dysfunction of NK cells in children with ASD. Abnormalities in NK cells may represent a susceptibility factor in ASD and may predispose to the development of autoimmunity and/or adverse neuroimmune interactions during critical periods of development. Altered gene expression and function of peripheral blood natural killer cells in children with autism.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 23, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 124-133
ABSTRACT: "Measurement of natural killer (NK) cell activity in blood samples of autistic children (n=1027) revealed that 45% of the subjects exhibited low NK cell activity compared to the controls (n=113). The correlation of this finding with low intracellular glutathione, IL-2 and IL-15 levels may indicate the underlying cause for NK cell dysfunction in a subset of autistic children . Gene expression of perforin, granzyme B and interferon-γ (IFNγ) in peripheral blood NK cells of ASD patients (n=52) was decreased compared to the control group (n=27) under similar stimulation conditions, indicating depressed cytotoxicity [12 Mast cell activation and autism☆
Theoharis C. Theoharides a,b,c,d,e,⁎, Asimenia Angelidou a,e, Konstantinos-Dionysios Alysandratos a,e, Bodi Zhang a,b, Shahrzad Asadi a, Konstantinos Francis f, Elena Toniato g, Dimitrios Kalogeromitros (2011) Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
HOW COULD A CORRELATION BE ESTABLISHED? SOMEONE NEEDS TO START STUDYING INCIDENCES OF AUTISM IN CHILDREN NEAR NUCLEAR AND COAL PLANTS (coal plants also emit radionuclides).