Current Medicinal Chemistry

Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS
Honorary Life Fellow
Kings College
University of Cambridge
Cambridge
UK

Back

Immune-Glutamatergic Dysfunction as a Central Mechanism of the Autism Spectrum Disorders

Author(s): R. L. Blaylock and A. Strunecka

Affiliation: Laboratory of Neuropharmacology, 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 4, 128 00 Prague 2, Czech Republic.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders, excitotoxicity, fluoride, glutamatergic neurotransmission, inflammation, mercury, microglia, cytokines

Abstract:

Despite the great number of observations being made concerning cellular and the molecular dysfunctions associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the basic central mechanism of these disorders has not been proposed in the major scientific literature. Our review brings evidence that most heterogeneous symptoms of ASD have a common set of events closely connected with dysregulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the brain with enhancement of excitatory receptor function by pro-inflammatory immune cytokines as the underlying mechanism. We suggest that environmental and dietary excitotoxins, mercury, fluoride, and aluminum can exacerbate the pathological and clinical problems by worsening excitotoxicity and by microglial priming. In addition, each has effects on cell signaling that can affect neurodevelopment and neuronal function. Our hypothesis opens the door to a number of new treatment modes, including the nutritional factors that naturally reduce excitotoxicity and brain inflammation.

Order Reprints Order Eprints Rights & PermissionsPrintExport

Article Details

VOLUME: 16
ISSUE: 2
Page: [157 - 170]
Pages: 14
DOI: 10.2174/092986709787002745