According to the latest researches, the fact that the mother’s immune system gets activated during pregnancy disrupts the neural cells’ development in the baby’s brain. This way the cells’ ability to communicate with each other and transmit signals gets damaged. This suggests that the viral infections of the mother can increase the risks of the baby having schizophrenia or autism.
The Importance of the Study
This study has been the first one to suggest a connection between the activation of the mother’s immune system and the brain development of the little one. Until now the exact causes of autism and schizophrenia have not been known.
The researchers have been working with mice and rats. They compared the brain development of the offspring whose mothers’ immune system has been activated to those pups who weren’t exposed to activated immune cells.
According to the findings the exposed baby rats’ brains’ had higher levels of immune molecules. This is the first evidence introduced into the world of science of this kind. The specialists have found that the high levels of these molecules stopped the brains of the young animals from forming the synopses, which are small gaps in the brain through which the signals are transmitted.
It has been known for a while that ASD and schizophrenia are caused by the changes of the brains’ connections especially in case of the cerebral cortex. In order to verify this theory, the specialists artificially reduced the molecule levels of some of the animals and in their case the synopsis density returned to normal.
The researchers can now say that the activation of the mothers’ immune system does have a word to say in the brain development of the baby. If the MHCI levels of the baby’s brain are higher than normal, it is certain that the little one will have some kind of mental condition.
The Effects of MHCI
We also have to add that MHCI is not the only factor that we should take into consideration. This molecule interacts with Mef2, a protein that determines neuronal specialization. This protein has not been studied in the past, but the researchers have shown that there is still a lot that doctors don’t know about the human body yet.
Naturally this matter requires further studies in order to be able to pinpoint the causes of autism and schizophrenia in case of babies.
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