Background: Children with developmental disorders experience chronic gastrointestinal symptoms.
Aims: To examine the nature of these gastrointestinal symptoms and histologic findings in children with autism spectrum/developmental disorders and ileocolonic disease.
Methods: Chart review. 143 autism spectrum/developmental disorder patients, with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, undergoing diagnostic ileocolonoscopy.
Results: Diarrhea was present in 78%, abdominal pain in 59% and constipation in 36%. Ileal and/or colonic lymphonodular hyperplasia (LNH), defined as the presence of an increased number of enlarged lymphoid follicles, often with hyperactive germinal centers, was present in 73.2%. Terminal ileum LNH presented visually in 67% and histologically in 73%. Colonic LNH was multifocal and presented histologically in 32%. Ileal and/or colonic inflammation presented in 74%, consisting primarily of active or chronic colitis (69%). Ileal inflammation presented in 35%. Presence of LNH significantly predicted mucosal inflammation. Patients with ileal and/or colonic LNH had lower mean/median age than those without; patients with ileal and/or colonic inflammation had lower mean/median age than those without. There was a significant association between ileo and/or colonic inflammation or LNH, and onset of developmental disorder; plateaued or regressive onset conferred greater risk than early onset.
Conclusions: Patients with autism or related disorders exhibiting chronic gastrointestinal symptoms demonstrate ileal or colonic inflammation upon light microscopic examination of biopsy tissue. Further work is needed to determine whether resolution of histopathology with appropriate therapy is accompanied by GI symptomatic and cognitive/behavioral improvement.
Note: An expression of concern in respect to this paper was published on 16 March 2011 and is available here: Autism Insights 2011:3 1. DOI: 10.4137/AUI.S7027.
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