Showing posts with label Immune disorder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immune disorder. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Immunomodulatory Therapy in Autism - Potassium Channel Kv1.3, Parasitic Worms, and their ShK–related peptides

Regular readers of this post will know that I believe that Immunomodulatory therapy has great promise for treating various subtypes of autism.  In effect, I want to bring the over-activated immune system back under control.  Two methods that appeal are:-

·        The steroid, Prednisone, because it is cheap and though it has side effects, they are very well understood. It also has been shown to be effective in autism and related conditions like PANDAS and Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS)

·        Parasitic worms appeal because they are known to have beneficial effect in many auto-immune conditions ranging from arthritis to autism, but nobody really understood why.  Until now.

This post is about the worms and recent research which has established that it is likely that they work by blocking the potassium channel Kv1.3.

You will have noted that this blog keeps going on about ion channel dysfunctions and autism.  We already know that Cl-, Ca2+ , K+ and Na2+ are all implicated.

When researching calcium channel blockers for autism, one reason I picked Verapamil was that it is also a potassium channel blocker.  My earlier experiments have shown that hypokalemic sensory overload exists in autism, I showed that oral potassium could treat sensory overload.

Hypokalemic Autistic Sensory Overload

This blog is (slowly) working its way through the ion channel dysfunctions known to exist in autism.

Well, it appears that Verapamil also blocks Kv1.3.

Block of the lymphocyte K+ channel mKv1.3 by the phenylalkylamine verapamil

Research Down Under

Researchers in Australia have identified the chemicals released by parasitic worms that have the effect of subduing the immune system.  They identified a large family of Stichodactyla helianthus toxin (ShK)–related peptides in parasitic worms, they showed that these peptides acted to inhibit Kv1.3 channels in human T cells.


The voltage-gated potassium (Kv) 1.3 channel is widely regarded as a therapeutic target for immunomodulation in autoimmune diseases. ShK-186, a selective inhibitor of Kv1.3 channels, ameliorates autoimmune diseases in rodent models, and human phase 1 trials of this agent in healthy volunteers have been completed. In this study, we identified and characterized a large family of Stichodactyla helianthus toxin (ShK)–related peptides in parasitic worms. Based on phylogenetic analysis, 2 worm peptides were selected for study: AcK1, a 51-residue peptide expressed in the anterior secretory glands of the dog-infecting hookworm Ancylostoma caninum and the human-infecting hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum, and BmK1, the C-terminal domain of a metalloprotease from the filarial worm Brugia malayi. These peptides in solution adopt helical structures closely resembling that of ShK. At doses in the nanomolar–micromolar range, they block native Kv1.3 in human T cells and cloned Kv1.3 stably expressed in L929 mouse fibroblasts. They preferentially suppress the proliferation of rat CCR7 effector memory T cells without affecting naive and central memory subsets and inhibit the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response caused by skin-homing effector memory T cells in rats. Further, they suppress IFNγ production by human T lymphocytes. ShK-related peptides in parasitic worms may contribute to the potential beneficial effects of probiotic parasitic worm therapy in human autoimmune diseases

A less heavy summary is here:-

'Wormpill' could ease autoimmune disease symptoms

The researchers noted that Kv1.3 is widely regarded as a therapeutic target for immunomodulation in autoimmune diseases.

So it seems that they have identified the mechanism of action of the worms.

Earlier posts have mentioned intentionally swallowing TSO parasites (Helminthic therapy) for autism and the trials now ongoing by Coronado Biosciences.   Here is part of one post:-

I think that TSO is very interesting.  It is now being developed by Coronado Biosciences as a therapy for several inflammatory conditions including:-

·        Crohn’s disease
·        Ulcerative Colitis
·        Autism

Here is a link to all the clinical trials they are running.

The idea behind TSO is that the parasites have evolved a method of ensuring their survival in their host, by subduing the immune system, so that they are not killed/ejected.  By down-regulating the immune system, they become a therapy for diseases featuring an over active immune system.

This all started a few years ago when one autism Dad figured all this out and tried it on his own son.  Then began the long process of clinical trials, which then ended up with Coronado Biosciences.  The Dad’s website is here.

The Australians have the idea of making their (ShK)–related peptides into a drug therapy.  So no need to swallow those worms after all.

Verapamil or Stichodactyla helianthus toxin (ShK)–related Peptides

Just as the Australians may have trumped Coronado Bioscience with their better-than-a-worm peptide pill, has Verapamil the ability to trump the Ozzies?

We know that Verapamil is neutralizing many allergic reactions affecting autism all over the body.  This appears to be a combination of mast cell stabilization and a possible effect on pancreatic function that reduces GI problems.  But is Verapamil’s inhibitory effect on Kv1.3 also providing a broader immunomodulatory effect as well?  It does indeed look possible.

We would need somebody using TSO worms for autism, to see if Verapamil was effective for them too.  Any volunteers?

Unlike the TSO worms and the ShK peptides, Verapamil is cheap and sitting on the shelf in your local pharmacy.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Angelina Jolie or Destiny’s Child?

At the time of writing this post Angelina Jolie’s aunt has succumbed to the same cancer that killed Angelina’s mother and she announced that she also carried the same defective gene.  She opted to take pre-emptive action and, in effect, cheat a nasty early death from breast or ovarian cancer.

I have read so much research into autism, that it is pretty clear to me, that you could calculate an Autism Risk Factor (ARF) for prospective parents, if you really wanted to.  Would you really want to?  I expect those with direct experience of autism might be in favour, the others probably would not even bother to answer the question.  Since few truly autistic people have children, it is really more of a question for their siblings; do they want Destiny’s Child?

It may sound depressing, or something to do with eugenics, but actually it does not have to be.  I am not suggesting the sort of genetic and chromosome testing that is already routinely done for conditions like Down’s syndrome.  I am talking about the kind of lifestyle changes that ideally a woman who smokes, drinks heavily or takes drugs, should take when she wants to have a child.

If your ARF puts you at risk, then you would receive a list of lifestyle changes, you should take to minimize the risk to your future child.

Autism Risk Factor (ARF)

I am not qualified to develop the ARF, but I am confident enough to highlight two of the factors that should go into it:

1.     Maternal & paternal family history of autoimmune diseases

Auto-immune diseases including, but not limited to, history of type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and hypothyroidism.  Here is some supporting evidence, for those who are interested:-


2.     Maternal & paternal stress capacity

This risk factor is my invention.  I used to only really think about mechanical stress, but now I know all about physiological stress, psychological stress and that big one, oxidative stress.  It seems, remarkably to me, that the latter three types of stress are in fact one and the same.

Put another way, physiological stress, psychological stress and oxidative stress are reflections of each other.  If you have got one, you will have all three.

The good news is that can use obvious visible cues to spot people will a low stress capacity and you could even then confirm it with a laboratory test of their oxidative stress (GSH redox level).

I recently took four short airplane flights and I observed people with chronic nail chewing (male) and obsessive nail filing (female) sitting beside or in front of me; it looks like about 5% of the flying population.  If you added the non-autistic people with mild stereotypy (stimming) like foot flapping, and those with Trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling, that we learned about in the posts on GSH/NAC) you would have a large proportion of those people living in some degree of potentially damaging oxidative stress.

I think the maternal stress capacity would be most relevant, but the fetus’s own stress capacity is also important, and some of that clearly comes from the paternal side.


So the conclusion for Ted, aged 12, is to grow up and find a nice calm girlfriend and buy a large supply of NAC, just in case.