Circulating levels of neurotrophic factors in autism spectrum disorders.

OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the levels of a neurotrophic factor and some neurotrophins in the plasma of patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

DESIGN: This study enrolled 30 children with ASD and 19 healthy children. Plasma levels of the neurotrophins BDNF, NGF, NT3, NT4 and of the neurotrophic factor GDNF were measured by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay.

SETTING: The etiopathogenesis of ASD is largely unknown, but it seems to involve dysfunction in several biological systems. One of these systems comprises the neurotrophic factors, which are molecules involved in many processes in the central nervous system, including neuronal survival, synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Recent studies have shown association between neurotrophic factors and ASD.

RESULTS: No differences in plasma BDNF, NGF, NT3, NT4 and GDNF were found between ASD and control. Neurotrophic factors are not altered in ASD.

CONCLUSIONS: These molecules may play a minor role in ASD.

 Full text PDF