Paul Ashwood, Ph.D.
M.I.N.D. Institute
2805 Wet Lab Building
Sacramento Campus

Fifteen years ago autism was considered a rare condition and was rarely diagnosed before the age of 3 years. However, the last decade has seen a dramatic rise in the number of children diagnosed with autism. The etiology of autism is unknown in the majority of cases and most likely involves a complex interplay of both genetic and environmental factors. Among these factors, differences in immune genetics and immune function have consistently been reported in autism. Dr Ashwood’s laboratory has developed a primary focus on understanding the immunological underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, Fragile X syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, schizophrenia and mood disorders.

Much of his current work is directed at characterizing the role of the immune system in autism and attempting to unravel the highly complex interconnections between the immune and central nervous systems. Ashwood is interested in exploring whether the health of one system is integral to the healthy development of the other. Ashwood's original research in his native England involved identification of a new variant of inflammatory bowel disease found in some cases of autism.

P Ashwood, DV Nguyen, D Hessl, R J Hagerman, F Tassone. 2010. Plasma cytokine profiles in Fragile X subjects: Is there a role for cytokines in the pathogenesis? Brain Behavior and Immunity 24(6):898-902

A Enstrom, C Onore, J Van de Water, P Ashwood. 2010. Differential monocyte responses to TLR ligands in children with autism spectrum disorders. Brain Behavior and Immunity 24(1): 64-71

C Onore, P Krakowiak, A Enstrom, R Hansen, I Hertz-Picciotto, J Van de Water, P Ashwood. 2009. Decreased cellular IL-23 production in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Neuroimmunology 216(1-2): 126-129

J P Gregg, R Hansen, I N Pessah, I Hertz-Picciotto, J A Van de Water, F R Sharp, P Ashwood. 2009. Altered gene expression and function of peripheral blood natural killer cells in children with autism. Brain Behavior Immunity 23(1): 124-133.

P Ashwood, J Schauer, IN Pessah, J Van de Water. 2009. Preliminary evidence of divergent effects of BDE-47 on innate immune responses in autistic and typically developing children. Journal of Neuroimmunology 208(1-2): 130-135.

P Ashwood, A Enstrom, P Krakowiak, I Hertz-Picciotto, R Hansen, LA Croen, S Ozonoff, I Pessah, J Van de Water. 2008. Decreased Transforming Growth Factor beta 1 in autism: A potential link between immune dysregulation and impairment in clinical behavioral outcomes. Journal of Neuroimmunology 204(1-2): 149-153.

LA Croen, D Braunschweig, L Haapanen, CK Yoshida, B Fireman, JK Grether, M Kharrazi, RL Hansen, P Ashwood, J Van de Water. 2008. Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Autoantibodies to Fetal Brain Protein: The Early Markers for Autism Study. Biological Psychiatry 64(7): 583-588

P Ashwood, C Kwong, R Hansen, I Hertz-Picciotto, L Croen, P Krakowiak, W Walker, IN. Pessah, J Van de Water. 2008. Plasma Leptin levels are elevated in autism: Association with early onset phenotype? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 38(1): 169-175

LA Martin, P Ashwood, D Braunschweig, M Cabanlit, J Van de Water, DG Amaral. 2008. Stereotypies and hyperactivity in rhesus monkeys exposed to IgG from mothers of children with autism. Brain Behavior Immunity 22(6): 806-16

BA Corbett, AB Kantor, H Schulman, WL Walker, L Lit, P Ashwood, DM Rocke, FR Sharp. 2007. A proteomic study of serum from children with autism showing differential expression of apolipoproteins and complement proteins. Molecular Psychiatry 12(3): 292-306.

P Ashwood, RPH Thompson, JJ Powell. 2007. Fine particles that adsorb lipopolysaccharide via bridging calcium cations may mimic bacterial pathogenicity towards cells. Experimental Biology and Medicine 232(1): 107-117.

P Ashwood, S Willis, J Van de Water. 2006. Autism and the immune response: A new frontier in autism research. Journal of Leukocyte Biology 80(1): 1-15.