Following the case study that caused Dr. Wakefield to lose his career in England merely for mentioning the parental association between MMR and autism, he carried out further research to see if the vaccine was causing problems in some children:
MMR Vaccine and Autism
In 2002 he found that measles virus was present in the intestines of 75 out of 91 children with autism and colitis:
A new form of inflammatory bowel disease (ileocolonic lymphonodular hyperplasia) has been described in a cohort of children with developmental disorder. This study investigates the presence of persistent measles virus in the intestinal tissue of these patients (new variant inflammatory bowel disease) and a series of controls by molecular analysis.
Formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded and fresh frozen biopsies from the terminal ileum were examined from affected children and histological normal controls. The measles virus Fusion (F) and Haemagglutinin (H) genes were detected by TaqMan reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and the Nucleocapsid (N) gene by RT in situ PCR. Localisation of the mRNA signal was performed using a specific follicular dendritic cell antibody.
Seventy five of 91 patients with a histologically confirmed diagnosis of ileal lymphonodular hyperplasia and enterocolitis were positive for measles virus in their intestinal tissue compared with five of 70 control patients. Measles virus was identified within the follicular dendritic cells and some lymphocytes in foci of reactive follicular hyperplasia. The copy number of measles virus ranged from one to 300,00 copies/ng total RNA.
The data confirm an association between the presence of measles virus and gut pathology in children with developmental disorder.
Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease
He also found auto-immune lesions in autistic children that were not present in children with other disabilities, pointing to an immune deregulation as a base for autistic disorder:
We have reported lymphocytic colitis in children with regressive autism, with epithelial damage prominent. We now compare duodenal biopsies in 25 children with regressive autism to 11 with coeliac disease, five with cerebral palsy and mental retardation and 18 histologically normal controls. Immunohistochemistry was performed for lymphocyte and epithelial lineage and functional markers. We determined the density of intraepithelial and lamina propria lymphocyte populations, and studied mucosal immunoglobulin and complement C1q localisation. Standard histopathology showed increased enterocyte and Paneth cell numbers in the autistic children. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated increased lymphocyte infiltration in both epithelium and lamina propria with upregulated crypt cell proliferation, compared to normal and cerebral palsy controls. Intraepithelial lymphocytes and lamina propria plasma cells were lower than in coeliac disease, but lamina propria T cell populations were higher and crypt proliferation similar. Most strikingly, IgG deposition was seen on the basolateral epithelial surface in 23/25 autistic children, co-localising with complement C1q. This was not seen in the other conditions. These findings demonstrate a novel form of enteropathy in autistic children, in which increases in mucosal lymphocyte density and crypt cell proliferation occur with epithelial IgG deposition. The features are suggestive of an autoimmune lesion.
Source: Mol Psychiatry. 2002;7(4):375-82, 334.
Small intestinal enteropathy with epithelial IgG and complement deposition in children with regressive autism
He also found measles virus in the spinal fluid of three children that he had given a lumbar puncture. Two of the children also had auto-antibodies (antibodies against self). This paper mentions that children born during a measles epidemic or exposed to measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox during gestation are at greater risk of autism.
Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Children with Regressive Autism: a Report of Three Cases
Dr. Wakefield and a team suggested that the gastrointestinal symptoms in autistic children may be the result of a dysregulated intestinal mucosal immunity.
Back in the 1990's, not much importance was placed on mucosal immunity but it is now known that a large part of the immune system is based in the gut.
Colonic biopsies were taken from 21 autistic children and 65 neuro-typical children. Of those 38 had inflammation. The children with ASD had elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines compared with neuro-typical children:
A lymphocytic enterocolitis has been reported in a cohort of children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. This study tested the hypothesis that dysregulated intestinal mucosal immunity with enhanced pro-inflammatory cytokine production is present in these ASD children. Comparison was made with developmentally normal children with, and without, mucosal inflammation. Duodenal and colonic biopsies were obtained from 21 ASD children, and 65 developmentally normal paediatric controls, of which 38 had signs of histological inflammation. Detection of CD3+ lymphocyte staining for spontaneous intracellular TNFalpha, IL-2, IL-4, IFNgamma, and IL-10, was performed by multicolor flow cytometry. Duodenal and colonic mucosal CD3+ lymphocyte counts were elevated in ASD children compared with noninflamed controls (p<0.03). In the duodenum, the proportion of lamina propria (LP) and epithelial CD3(+)TNFalpha+ cells in ASD children was significantly greater compared with noninflamed controls (p<0.002) but not coeliac disease controls. In addition, LP and epithelial CD3(+)IL-2+ and CD3(+)IFNgamma+, and epithelial CD3(+)IL-4+ cells were more numerous in ASD children than in noninflamed controls (p<0.04). In contrast, CD3(+)IL-10+ cells were fewer in ASD children than in noninflamed controls (p<0.05). In the colon, LP CD3(+)TNFalpha+ and CD3(+)IFNgamma+ were more frequent in ASD children than in noninflamed controls (p<0.01). In contrast with Crohn's disease and non-Crohn's colitis, LP and epithelial CD3(+)IL-10+ cells were fewer in ASD children than in nondisease controls (p<0.01). There was a significantly greater proportion of CD3(+)TNFalpha+ cells in colonic mucosa in those ASD children who had no dietary exclusion compared with those on a gluten and/or casein free diet (p<0.05). There is a consistent profile of CD3+ lymphocyte cytokines in the small and large intestinal mucosa of these ASD children, involving increased pro-inflammatory and decreased regulatory activities. The data provide further evidence of a diffuse mucosal immunopathology in some ASD children and the potential for benefit of dietary and immunomodulatory therapies.'
Source: J Clin Immunol. 2004 Nov;24(6):664-73.
A group of autistic children were divided into two sub-groups, one group of children who had had one vaccine and another group who'd had more than one. Re-exposed children had significantly higher physical symptoms including incontinence and intestinal inflammation:
Gastrointestinal comorbidity, autistic regression and Measles-containing vaccines: positive re-challenge and biological gradient
Andrew Wakefield also tested the Hepatitis B vaccine on newborn monkeys (this is given to US human babies) and he tested the entire US CDC vaccine schedule on them - the result was delayed neonatal reflexes (they couldn't suckle - a very big deal if you want to survive), brain damage and 'autistic tendancies'.
For details of these tests please see this page:
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