Background and Objective: Exposure to mycotoxins may delay and/or negatively influence the development of neurological, gastrointestinal and inflammatory mechanisms in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Therefore, there is a need to address the possible links between mycotoxins and the risk and prevalence of ASD to increase the understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying these links. In this context, the aim of this study was to investigate the molecular mechanism underpinning mycotoxin exposure and autism.
Methods: The study was based on a systematic approach, which focused on the possible associations between mycotoxins and ASD in addition to the role of the mycotoxins on the risk and prevalence of ASD. The systematic review included all molecular mechanism studies examining mycotoxin exposure and autism, and was not limited to a specific period of time. A search was performed on the PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases.
Results: The investigation of the literature revealed that a total number of 11 studies with a specific focus on the molecular mechanism of mycotoxin exposure and autism were published between 2008 and 2019. Out of these studies, 7 were research articles and 4 were review articles. In almost all the articles, possible links between mycotoxins and ASD were revealed.
Conclusion: The examination of the given studies provided data related to the links between mycotoxins and ASD. However, evidence related to these links needs to be investigated in larger samples, while the effects of separate mycotoxins and their metabolisms should also be examined.