Buenos Aires 02 de Noviembre del 2020

Autism Spectrum Disorder Biomarker is Discovered


Autism Spectrum Disorder Biomarker is Discovered


                                Takeo Yoshikawa; Motoko Maekawa (RIKEN Center for Brain Science – Japan).

                                                                                   Brain Communications - 2020

                                                                                   Resumido por: Carmen Leitch



 Scientists may have identified a biomarker for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This disorder begins in early life, and its impacts on learning, behavior, and communication fall on a wide spectrum and it can be difficult to differentiate from other disorders like hyperactivity, the biomarker may be challenging to diagnose correctly because it can present differently. 
Fat cells are metabolically active, can release hormones that signal to other tissues. One type of molecule that fat cells produce is called adipokines, which can affect brain activity. The researchers examined the levels of adipokines including FABP4 in young children with and without ASD. FABP4 was an adipokine that can modulate brain function, especially during development
Researchers have determined that the levels of FABP4 are lower in 4- to 6-year-old children with autism than in children that develop in a typical way. The time of test is critical, FABP4 levels in older children and adults with ASD are normal. After assessing FABP4 levels and finding them low in young children with ASD, the researchers used a mouse model to deplete FABP4. They observed that the neurons in these mice were changed in ways that were similar to neurons that have been collected from the brains of ASD patients after death.
The scientists also confirmed that preschool-aged kids with ASD had significantly lower levels of FABP4 than children without ASD in two other groups of children. This suggests that at the right age - 4 to 6 - FABP4 levels can serve as an ASD biomarker. Compared to wild-type mice, the mice with low FABP4 levels also had behavioral problems that caused difficulty with spatial learning and memory, as seen in some ASD patients.
After additional analysis of post-mortem brains, the researchers found that in older children with ASD, FABP4 levels are the same as those without ASD. Thus, the amount of FABP4 appears to be too low in children with ASD at a very specific period in development. It might, therefore, not only be a biomarker, it may play a role in disease development.
Researchers hope to replicate our findings in a larger group, which will allow us to determine whether specific ASD symptoms or their severity are related to low levels of FABP4 and to conduct a prospective cohort study of newborns to determine if FABP4 levels at birth can predict the future manifestation of ASD.