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The causes of dyslexia are unknown, but previous studies have suggested an immunological basis in some cases. We hypothesised that maternal antibodies, which cross the placenta and bind to fetal antigens, could be responsible, particularly when the dyslexia recurs in consecutive pregnancies. We injected serum samples from five mothers of two or more children with dyslexia into pregnant mice, and tested the offspring for behavioural abnormalities and cerebellar metabolites by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Mice exposed in utero to serum factors from one woman with two dyslexic children, who had also had three spontaneous fetal losses, showed deficits in motor tests which correlated with cerebellar choline (Cho) and creatine (Cr) levels. These preliminary results are consistent with a role for maternal serum factors, probably antibodies, in causing some of the features of dyslexia, and possibly in other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neuroimmunol

Publication Date





243 - 247


Animals, Autoantibodies, Blood Proteins, Brain, Cerebellar Ataxia, Child, Disease Models, Animal, Dyslexia, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Immunity, Maternally-Acquired, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred Strains, Middle Aged, Pregnancy