Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous group of defined behavioral neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterized by disturbances in communication and social interactions, along with restrictive and repetitive behaviors.
There is a growing recognition that cellular base abnormalities are associated with ASD including immune and redox dysregulation, oxidative stress and alterations in energy generation. How these systemic anomalies interact with each other and with environmental factors and how these factors interact to alter behavior remains unclear.
Physiological disorders associated with autism
Abnormalities in mitochondrial function are one of the most prevalent metabolic alterations that affect children with ASD. Our research has focused on the etiology of mitochondrial dysfunction in ASD and how mitochondrial abnormalities might interact with other physiological disorders associated with autism, such as oxidative stress. Our findings indicate that there may be an extended spectrum of bioenergetic capacity in individuals with ASD so that their mitochondria can generate energy adequately, but may be more susceptible to oxidative microenvironments, resulting in greater susceptibility to the disease.
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