Autism as a disorder of deficiency of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and altered metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids.Nutrition. 2013 Oct; 29(10):1175-85.N
Autism has a strong genetic and environmental basis in which inflammatory markers and factors concerned with synapse formation, nerve transmission, and information processing such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): arachidonic (AA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) and their products and neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, γ-aminobutyric acid, and catecholamines and cytokines are altered. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements are needed for the normal metabolism of neurotrophic factors, eicosanoids, and neurotransmitters, supporting reports of their alterations in autism. But, the exact relationship among these factors and their interaction with genes and proteins concerned with brain development and growth is not clear. It is suggested that maternal infections and inflammation and adverse events during intrauterine growth of the fetus could lead to alterations in the gene expression profile and proteomics that results in dysfunction of the neuronal function and neurotransmitters, alteration(s) in the metabolism of PUFAs and their metabolites resulting in excess production of proinflammatory eicosanoids and cytokines and a deficiency of anti-inflammatory cytokines and bioactive lipids that ultimately results in the development of autism. Based on these evidences, it is proposed that selective delivery of BDNF and methods designed to augment the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and eicosanoids and PUFAs may prevent, arrest, or reverse the autism disease process.