Mitochondria and Vaccines

By Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

April 14, 2008

As the person who first proposed the microglial/excitotoxin hypothesis (JANA 2003;6(4): 21-35 and J. Amer Phys Surg 2004; 9(2): 46-51) I feel I should explain the connection between microglia/excitotoxicity and mitochondrail dysfunction. My hypothesis was confirmed two years later by Vargis, et al in which they demonstrated chronic levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines as well as microglia and astrocytic activation in the brains of 11 autistics from age 5 years to 44 years, even though they never mentioned excitotoxicity as a final mechanism. I wish to address the mitochondrial issue, which has become of major interest with the appearance of the Hannah Polingís case.

In my original hypothesis, later expanded in a number of other articles, I explained that when the systemic immune system is overactivated, the brainís special immune system, consisting of microglia and astrocytes, also becomes activated.

The microglia normally remain in a quiescent state called ramified microglia. Upon activation, they swell, assume special immune receptors in their membranes and move within the extracellular space. In this activated state they act as immune presenting cells and can secrete a number of inflammatory chemicals, such as IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-12 and IL-18, TNF-alpha, chemokines, complement and two excitotoxins called glutamate and quniolinic acid. They also generate a number of powerful free radicals and lipid peroxidation molecules.

A number of studies have shown that when you use powerful immune adjuvants, as used in vaccines (especially when combined), this inflammatory/excitotoxic reaction within the brain is maximized. With the first vaccine (or natural infection) the brainís microglia are in a semi-activated stated called primed. If you re-vaccinate the animal or person within 1 to 2 months, these primed microglia overreact intensely, pouring out even higher levels of the excitotoxins, inflammatory cytokines and free radicals. Each subsequent set of vaccinations worsens this process.

These inflammatory/excitotoxic secretions damage the developing brain, which is undergoing its most active development at the very time the child is receiving 24 vaccines. This vaccine schedule exposes the child to a priming HepB vaccine at birth, 6 vaccines at age 2 months, then 5 vaccines at age 4 months, 7 vaccines at 6 months and finally 8 antigens at age one year. Each successive multi-dose barrage of vaccines intensely activates the brainís microglial system and the microglia activate the astrocytes, which also secretes, inflammatory cytokines, free radicals and excitotoxins.

Experiments in which this pattern of immune stimulation is simulated using a vaccine adjuvant, demonstrate that it produces significant disruption of brain development. The greatest damage in these experiments is to the cerebellum and frontal lobes, which is also the primary sites of damage in autism. Further, food allergins also act as brain microglial activators, thereby worsening and prolonging the original immune/excitotoxic effect produced by the vaccines.

So, how does mercury play into all this. Mercury in extremely small concentrations (nanomolar concentrations) can activate microglia, trigger excitotoxicity and induce significant mitochondrial dysfunction. Blocking the glutamate receptors (that trigger excitotoxicity) also blocks most of the neurotoxic effect of mercury at these concentrations. That is, most of lower-dose effects of mercury in the brain are secondary to excitotoxicity. The mitochondria produce most of the energy used by neurons and a number of studies have shown that suppressing mitochondrial function by itself is not enough to alter brain function, but it is enough to magnify excitotoxic damage. That is, it is the excitotoxicity that is disrupting brain function and development.

A newer study has shown conclusively, that mitochondrial activation using a vaccine adjuvant not only suppresses mitochondrial function but that the damage cause by this mitochondrial suppression is actually produced by excitotoxicity. Blocking excitotoxicity completely blocks the microglial-induced neurotoxicity and mitochondrial damage cause by the vaccine.

A great number of studies have shown that activating the systemic immune system repetitively worsens neurological disorders caused by other things and can initiate neurodegeneration itself, that is prolonged. The inflammatory cytokines interact with glutamate receptors to dramatically increase excitotoxic damage. We know that autistic children have elevated CSF and blood levels of glutamate, which confirms the presence of the excitotoxic process.

Basically, what we see is a process triggered by sequential, massive vaccination that primes and then activates the brain microglial/astrocytic system, triggering the release of massive amounts of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and excitotoxins. This suppresses the mitochondria and the resulting energy loss further worsening the excitotoxic damage. Because of continued immune activation systemically, both by food allergies and natural infections, the brainís immune system remains in an active state, leading to suppression of brain pathway development and neural function. This is why the change in the vaccine policy beginning in the mid-1980s, triggered the epidemic of autism. The mercury just aggravated the process.

I warned a number of people and published my warning, that removing the mercury from vaccines would not stop the high incidence of autism, because it was just part of the picture. We must also appreciate that there are a great number of sources of mercury besides vaccine-mainly environmental and from dental amalgam.

For more information on this mechanism you can read my original articles on my website Ė Also I have written more papers on my website under the heading -Information. All the information is free. I have several newer articles appearing in Medical Veritas and the Journal of Alternative Therapeutics in Health and Medicine.

Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.