Friday, November 13, 2009

NAC: Dr. Theoharis Theoharides on Autism as an Emerging Neuroimmune Disorder

Dr. Theoharis Theoharides just finished an amazing lecture on the potential role of mast cell activation and autism. Dr. Theoharides discussed the changing understanding of the role of mast cells - far more things can activate mast cells than the antigens that cause IgE-mediated allergic reactions. There are many things that can activate the mast cell without degranulation (basically an explosion) seen in IgE reactions so that the activation is hard to detect. There is evidence that stress-related compounds, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone, can activate mast cells, for example. The mast cells are in the brain near blood vessels and neurons and when activated can open the blood brain barrier and have effects on nearby neurons. The opening of the BBB can result in compounds that have no place in the brain entering it. Moreover, mercury can activate mast cells
and can act synergistically with other things to activate the mast cells at a higher level and viruses also can activate the mast cells. I found these to be an exciting reason to keep investigating the potential role of vaccines both with and without mercury preservative. Dr. Theoharides also discussed discoveries relating to the potential role of mast cell activation in mitochondrial fragmentation (fission). As he spoke, I was amazed by the potentially powerful effect of these mast cells. The science was complex and I have barely touched on the doctor's many salient points, and I hope that I have given you a good taste for this emerging area of research.


  1. Thank you Kim. I saw his interview on and found it fascinating as well. Interested in hearing about his research, which he was going to have Harvard do, to avoid any conflict of interest. Did he mention the antioxidant that he was co-creating to help brain inflammation?

  2. I love Dr. Theoharides! I saw him speak at this year's annual Mastocytosis Society conference.