Autistic Disorder Biomarkers
NCBI: db=pubmed; Term=(biomarker[Title/Abstract] AND "Autistic Disorder"[Mesh])
Updated: 4 hours 36 min ago
Engrailed homeobox transcription factors as potential markers and targets in cancer.
FEBS Lett. 2013 Mar 18;587(6):549-54
Authors: McGrath SE, Michael A, Pandha H, Morgan R
Engrailed (En) is a member of the homeobox gene family, which encodes a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that is essential during early development. The only known site of normal adult Engrailed protein (EN) expression is in the nervous system, and it has been implicated in the development of both young-onset Parkinson's disease as well as autism. Over-expression of EN has been linked to tumour development in adults, particularly in breast, prostate, melanoma and ovarian cancers, and there is a growing interest in its role as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker. It is hoped that further work may confirm associations between En expression and therapy-resistant, poor prognosis cancers, similar to that identified with other homeobox gene profiles.
PMID: 23395604 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Immune system gene dysregulation in autism and schizophrenia.
Dev Neurobiol. 2012 Oct;72(10):1277-87
Authors: Michel M, Schmidt MJ, Mirnics K
Gene*environment interactions play critical roles in the emergence of autism and schizophrenia pathophysiology. In both disorders, recent genetic association studies have provided evidence for disease-linked variation in immune system genes and postmortem gene expression studies have shown extensive chronic immune abnormalities in brains of diseased subjects. Furthermore, peripheral biomarker studies revealed that both innate and adaptive immune systems are dysregulated. In both disorders symptoms of the disease correlate with the immune system dysfunction; yet, in autism this process appears to be chronic and sustained, while in schizophrenia it is exacerbated during acute episodes. Furthermore, since immune abnormalities endure into adulthood and anti-inflammatory agents appear to be beneficial, it is likely that these immune changes actively contribute to disease symptoms. Modeling these changes in animals provided further evidence that prenatal maternal immune activation alters neurodevelopment and leads to behavioral changes that are relevant for autism and schizophrenia. The converging evidence strongly argues that neurodevelopmental immune insults and genetic background critically interact and result in increased risk for either autism or schizophrenia. Further research in these areas may improve prenatal health screening in genetically at-risk families and may also lead to new preventive and/or therapeutic strategies.
PMID: 22753382 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Epidemiologic studies of exposure to prenatal infection and risk of schizophrenia and autism.
Dev Neurobiol. 2012 Oct;72(10):1272-6
Authors: Brown AS
In this review, we provide a synopsis of work on the epidemiologic evidence for prenatal infection in the etiology of schizophrenia and autism. In birth cohort studies conducted by our group and others, in utero exposure to infectious agents, prospectively obtained after biomarker assays of archived maternal sera and by obstetric records was related to an increased risk of schizophrenia. Thus far, it has been demonstrated that prenatal exposure to influenza, increased toxoplasma antibody, genital-reproductive infections, rubella, and other pathogens are associated with schizophrenia. Anomalies of the immune system, including enhanced maternal cytokine levels, are also related to schizophrenia. Some evidence also suggests that maternal infection and immune dysfunction may be associated with autism. Although replication is required, these findings suggest that public health interventions targeting infectious exposures have the potential for preventing cases of schizophrenia and autism. Moreover, this work has stimulated translational research on the neurobiological and genetic determinants of these conditions.
PMID: 22488761 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
A novel functional brain imaging endophenotype of autism: the neural response to facial expression of emotion.
Transl Psychiatry. 2011;1:e19
Authors: Spencer MD, Holt RJ, Chura LR, Suckling J, Calder AJ, Bullmore ET, Baron-Cohen S
Siblings of individuals with autism have over 20 times the population risk of autism. Evidence of comparable, but less marked, cognitive and social communication deficits in siblings suggests a role for these traits in the search for biomarkers of familial risk. However, no neuroimaging biomarkers of familial risk have been identified to date. Here we show, for the first time, that the neural response to facial expression of emotion differs between unaffected siblings and healthy controls with no family history of autism. Strikingly, the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) response to happy versus neutral faces was significantly reduced in unaffected siblings compared with controls within a number of brain areas implicated in empathy and face processing. The response in unaffected siblings did not differ significantly from the response in autism. Furthermore, investigation of the response to faces versus fixation crosses suggested that, within the context of this study, an atypical response specifically to happy faces, rather than to faces in general, accounts for the observed sibling versus controls difference and is a clear biomarker of familial risk. Our findings suggest that an atypical implicit response to facial expression of emotion may form the basis of impaired emotional reactivity in autism and in the broader autism phenotype in relatives. These results demonstrate that the fMRI response to facial expression of emotion is a candidate neuroimaging endophenotype for autism, and may offer far-reaching insights into the etiology of autism.
PMID: 22832521 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
GABAB-mediated rescue of altered excitatory-inhibitory balance, gamma synchrony and behavioral deficits following constitutive NMDAR-hypofunction.
Transl Psychiatry. 2012;2:e142
Authors: Gandal MJ, Sisti J, Klook K, Ortinski PI, Leitman V, Liang Y, Thieu T, Anderson R, Pierce RC, Jonak G, Gur RE, Carlson G, Siegel SJ
Reduced N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor (NMDAR) signaling has been associated with schizophrenia, autism and intellectual disability. NMDAR-hypofunction is thought to contribute to social, cognitive and gamma (30-80 Hz) oscillatory abnormalities, phenotypes common to these disorders. However, circuit-level mechanisms underlying such deficits remain unclear. This study investigated the relationship between gamma synchrony, excitatory-inhibitory (E/I) signaling, and behavioral phenotypes in NMDA-NR1(neo-/-) mice, which have constitutively reduced expression of the obligate NR1 subunit to model disrupted developmental NMDAR function. Constitutive NMDAR-hypofunction caused a loss of E/I balance, with an increase in intrinsic pyramidal cell excitability and a selective disruption of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons. Disrupted E/I coupling was associated with deficits in auditory-evoked gamma signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Gamma-band abnormalities predicted deficits in spatial working memory and social preference, linking cellular changes in E/I signaling to target behaviors. The GABA(B)-receptor agonist baclofen improved E/I balance, gamma-SNR and broadly reversed behavioral deficits. These data demonstrate a clinically relevant, highly translatable neural-activity-based biomarker for preclinical screening and therapeutic development across a broad range of disorders that share common endophenotypes and disrupted NMDA-receptor signaling.
PMID: 22806213 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Evidence of oxidative damage and inflammation associated with low glutathione redox status in the autism brain.
Transl Psychiatry. 2012;2:e134
Authors: Rose S, Melnyk S, Pavliv O, Bai S, Nick TG, Frye RE, James SJ
Despite increasing evidence of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of autism, most studies have not evaluated biomarkers within specific brain regions, and the functional consequences of oxidative stress remain relatively understudied. We examined frozen samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex (Brodmann area 22 (BA22)) from individuals with autism and unaffected controls (n=15 and n=12 per group, respectively). Biomarkers of oxidative stress, including reduced glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG) and glutathione redox/antioxidant capacity (GSH/GSSG), were measured. Biomarkers of oxidative protein damage (3-nitrotyrosine; 3-NT) and oxidative DNA damage (8-oxo-deoxyguanosine; 8-oxo-dG) were also assessed. Functional indicators of oxidative stress included relative levels of 3-chlorotyrosine (3-CT), an established biomarker of a chronic inflammatory response, and aconitase activity, a biomarker of mitochondrial superoxide production. Consistent with previous studies on plasma and immune cells, GSH and GSH/GSSG were significantly decreased in both autism cerebellum (P<0.01) and BA22 (P<0.01). There was a significant increase in 3-NT in the autism cerebellum and BA22 (P<0.01). Similarly, 8-oxo-dG was significantly increased in autism cerebellum and BA22 (P<0.01 and P=0.01, respectively), and was inversely correlated with GSH/GSSG in the cerebellum (P<0.01). There was a significant increase in 3-CT levels in both brain regions (P<0.01), whereas aconitase activity was significantly decreased in autism cerebellum (P<0.01), and was negatively correlated with GSH/GSSG (P=0.01). Together, these results indicate that decreased GSH/GSSG redox/antioxidant capacity and increased oxidative stress in the autism brain may have functional consequence in terms of a chronic inflammatory response, increased mitochondrial superoxide production, and oxidative protein and DNA damage.
PMID: 22781167 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
A novel blood-based biomarker for detection of autism spectrum disorders.
Transl Psychiatry. 2012;2:e91
Authors: Momeni N, Bergquist J, Brudin L, Behnia F, Sivberg B, Joghataei MT, Persson BL
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are classified as neurological developmental disorders. Several studies have been carried out to find a candidate biomarker linked to the development of these disorders, but up to date no reliable biomarker is available. Mass spectrometry techniques have been used for protein profiling of blood plasma of children with such disorders in order to identify proteins/peptides that may be used as biomarkers for detection of the disorders. Three differentially expressed peptides with mass-charge (m/z) values of 2020 ± 1, 1864 ± 1 and 1978 ± 1 Da in the heparin plasma of children with ASD that were significantly changed as compared with the peptide pattern of the non-ASD control group are reported here. This novel set of biomarkers allows for a reliable blood-based diagnostic tool that may be used in diagnosis and potentially, in prognosis of ASD.
PMID: 22832856 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Networking in autism: leveraging genetic, biomarker and model system findings in the search for new treatments.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Jan;37(1):196-212
Authors: Veenstra-VanderWeele J, Blakely RD
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting approximately 1% of children. ASD is defined by core symptoms in two domains: negative symptoms of impairment in social and communication function, and positive symptoms of restricted and repetitive behaviors. Available treatments are inadequate for treating both core symptoms and associated conditions. Twin studies indicate that ASD susceptibility has a large heritable component. Genetic studies have identified promising leads, with converging insights emerging from single-gene disorders that bear ASD features, with particular interest in mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-linked synaptic plasticity mechanisms. Mouse models of these disorders are revealing not only opportunities to model behavioral perturbations across species, but also evidence of postnatal rescue of brain and behavioral phenotypes. An intense search for ASD biomarkers has consistently pointed to elevated platelet serotonin (5-HT) levels and a surge in brain growth in the first 2 years of life. Following a review of the diversity of ASD phenotypes and its genetic origins and biomarkers, we discuss opportunities for translation of these findings into novel ASD treatments, focusing on mTor- and 5-HT-signaling pathways, and their possible intersection. Paralleling the progress made in understanding the root causes of rare genetic syndromes that affect cognitive development, we anticipate progress in models systems using bona fide ASD-associated molecular changes that have the potential to accelerate the development of ASD diagnostics and therapeutics.
PMID: 21937981 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]