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Maternal autoimmunity: risk of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric outcomes
  1. Russell C Dale1,
  2. Michael Harry Barnett2,3,
  3. Matthew C Kiernan2,3
  1. 1 Neuroimmunology Group, Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research, Kids Research Institute at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2 Brain and Mind Centre, The University Of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia
  3. 3 Sydney Neuroimaging Analysis Centre, Camperdown, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Russell C Dale, Clinical School, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia; russell.dale{at}

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In their JNNP manuscript, in this issue, Coutinho and colleagues identify an association between maternal autoantibodies against CASPR2 and an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring.1 The study by Coutinho and colleagues used a remarkable Danish resource of stored serum obtained from mothers during the first half of pregnancy, examined the sera for cell surface autoantibodies and correlated these findings with postpartum psychosis in the mother and neurodevelopmental outcomes in the offspring. Although the study failed to find an association of autoantibodies with subsequent maternal psychosis, there was an association between CASPR2 autoantibodies and neurodevelopmental disorders, although not with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).1 Although two cohorts had to be combined to generate statistical significance for their main finding, the study by Coutinho and colleagues adds to an ever-increasing body of work that contributes to the hypothesis that the immune status of the mother has effects on the fetal brain.2

Maternal–fetal transfer of IgG is important such that the child is protected against the microbiological …

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  • Contributors All authors have contributed to editorial according to authorship requirements.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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