Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Inflammation and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorder

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 5 ]


Maria Gevezova, Victoria Sarafian*, George Anderson and Michael Maes   Pages 320 - 333 ( 14 )


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a severe childhood psychiatric condition with an array of cognitive, language and social impairments that can significantly impact family life. ASD is classically characterized by reduced communication skills and social interactions, with limitations imposed by repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. The pathophysiology of ASD is thought to arise from complex interactions between environmental and genetic factors within the context of individual development. A growing body of research has raised the possibility of identifying the aetiological causes of the disorder. This review highlights the roles of immune-inflammatory pathways, nitro-oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunctions in ASD pathogenesis and symptom severity. The role of NK-cells, T helper, T regulatory and B-cells, coupled with increased inflammatory cytokines, lowered levels of immune-regulatory cytokines, and increased autoantibodies and microglial activation is elucidated. It is proposed that alterations in mitochondrial activity and nitrooxidative stress are intimately associated with activated immune-inflammatory pathways. Future research should determine as to whether the mitochondria, immune-inflammatory activity and nitrooxidative stress changes in ASD affect the development of amygdala-frontal cortex interactions. A number of treatment implications may arise, including prevention-orientated prenatal interventions, treatment of pregnant women with vitamin D, and sodium butyrate. Treatments of ASD children and adults with probiotics, sodium butyrate and butyrate-inducing diets, antipurinergic therapy with suramin, melatonin, oxytocin and taurine are also discussed.


Autism, inflammation, neuroimmunomodulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress toxicity, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).


Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University-Plovdiv, Plovdiv, Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University-Plovdiv, Plovdiv, CRC Scotland & London, Eccelston Square, London, Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University-Plovdiv, Plovdiv

Graphical Abstract:

Read Full-Text article