Immune, Autonomic, and Endocrine Dysregulation in Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders Versus Unaffected Controls
ABSTRACTBackgroundA growing body of literature suggests etiological overlap between Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)/hypermobility spectrum disorders (HSD) and some cases of autism, although this relationship is poorly delineated. In addition, immune, autonomic, and endocrine dysregulation are reported in both conditions and may be relevant to their respective etiologies.AimsTo study symptom overlap in these two comorbid spectrum conditions.Methods and ProceduresWe surveyed 702 adults aged 25+
... dults aged 25+ years on a variety of EDS/HSD-related health topics, comparing individuals with EDS/HSD, autism, and unaffected controls.Outcomes and ResultsThe autism group reported similar though less severe symptomology as the EDS/HSD group, especially in areas of immune/autonomic/endocrine dysregulation, connective tissue abnormalities (i.e., skin, bruising/bleeding), and chronic pain. EDS/HSD mothers with autistic children reported more immune symptoms than EDS/HSD mothers without, suggesting the maternal immune system could play a heritable role in these conditions (p = 0.0119).Conclusions and ImplicationsThese data suggest that EDS/HSD and autism share aspects of immune/autonomic/endocrine dysregulation, pain, and some tissue fragility, which is typically more severe in the former. This overlap, as well as documented comorbidity, suggests some forms of autism may be hereditary connective tissue disorders (HCTD).