Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social, communication, and behavioral symptoms. Recent research has attempted to identify the potential mechanisms that may contribute to the pathogenesis of autism. Biomarkers as noninvasive quantitative biological measures with accurate indication of a specific mechanism can lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis required to design the most effective treatments of autism. There is also great hope that the discovery of valid and predictive biomarkers for this disorder will help earlier and more targeted methods for diagnosis and intervention. In this chapter, we discuss some of the current theorized mechanisms contributing to autism, including inflammation, oxidative stress, impaired detoxification, glutamate excitotoxicity, gut-microbiota-brain axis, impaired fatty acid profiling, and serotonin (5-HT)/oxytocin (OT) abnormalities as target to treat autism. Moreover, based on our understanding of the role of these mechanisms, selected treatment strategies are suggested. These strategies include nutraceuticals, probiotics/prebiotics and ω-3 supplementation, targeting glutamate transporters or selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors, and intranasal OT treatment. Of course, the joint efforts of scientists, caregivers, and other stakeholders must combine to identify valid, clinically useful autism biomarkers that may lead to efficient treatment strategy and/or combined strategies.
Part of the book: Role of Biomarkers in Medicine