Disrupted immunity in the fetal brain is linked to neurodevelopmental disorders

Disrupted fetal immune system development, such as that caused by viral infection in the mother, may be a key factor in the later appearance of certain neurodevelopmental disorders. This finding emerges from a Weizmann Institute study published in Science on June 23, 2016.
The study may explain, among other things, how the mother's infection with the cytomegalovirus (CMV) during pregnancy, which affects her own and her fetus's immune system, increases the risk that her offspring will develop autism or schizophrenia, sometimes years later. This increased risk of neurodevelopmental diseases had been discovered many years ago in epidemiological studies and confirmed in mouse models. The Weizmann study, led by Dr. Ido Amit and Prof. Michal Schwartz, of the Immunology and Neurobiology Departments, respectively, provides a possible explanation for this increase on the cellular and the mechanistic molecular levels.
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