In addition to the core behavioral symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, many patients present with complex medical conditions including gastrointestinal dysfunction. A functional variant in the promoter of the gene encoding the MET receptor tyrosine kinase is associated with autism spectrum disorder, and MET protein expression is decreased in the temporal cortex of subjects with autism spectrum disorder. MET is a pleiotropic receptor that functions in both brain development and gastrointestinal repair. On the basis of these functions, we hypothesized that association of the autism spectrum disorder-associated MET promoter variant may be enriched in a subset of individuals with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions.
Subjects were 918 individuals from 214 Autism Genetics Resource Exchange families with a complete medical history including gastrointestinal condition report. Genotypes at the autism spectrum disorder-associated MET promoter variant rs1858830 were determined. Family-based association test and chi(2) analyses were used to determine the association of MET rs1858830 alleles with autism spectrum disorder and the presence of gastrointestinal conditions.
In the entire 214-family sample, the MET rs1858830 C allele was associated with both autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions. Stratification by the presence of gastrointestinal conditions revealed that the MET C allele was associated with both autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions in 118 families containing at least 1 child with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions. In contrast, there was no association of the MET polymorphism with autism spectrum disorder in the 96 families lacking a child with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions. chi(2) analyses of MET rs1858830 genotypes indicated over-representation of the C allele in individuals with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder and gastrointestinal conditions compared with non-autism spectrum disorder siblings, parents, and unrelated controls.
These results suggest that disrupted MET signaling may contribute to increased risk for autism spectrum disorder that includes familial gastrointestinal dysfunction.
"who constituted 41 % of the sample (Campbell et al. 2009; Wang et al. 2011). Published case series also report high prevalence of GI symptoms in ASD (Molloy and Manning- Courtney 2003; Valicenti-McDermott et al. 2006) but without population-based controls. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on clinical experience, we hypothesized that rigid-compulsive behaviors are associated with severe constipation and co-occurring diarrhea or underwear staining in children with autism spectrum disorder. Using data from the Autism Treatment Network, we evaluated the association between these gastrointestinal symptoms and measures of rigid compulsive behavior in children ages 2-17. Following statistical correction, four of five primary measures were significantly associated with constipation and diarrhea or underwear staining, including parental report of repetitive behavior, parental report of compulsive behavior, clinician diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and report of rituals observed on the autism diagnostic observation schedule. This association could point to a causal connection between these symptoms or to a common biological pathway that impacts both gut and brain.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2013; 44(6). DOI:10.1007/s10803-013-2009-2 · 3.06 Impact Factor
"The reduced HGF expression in the serum was observed in ASD patients who have severe GI tract problems (23). Furthermore, a significant polymorphism in the receptor tyrosine kinase MET promoter region was observed in ASD patient group having GI problem in a genetic analysis study (24). MET signaling activate N-mehtyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) mediated receptor function and increase glutamatergic synapse formation and post synaptic protein clustering in mature neuron (25-27). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In-utero exposure to valproic acid (VPA) has been known as a potent inducer of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), not only in humans, but also in animals. In addition to the defects in communication and social interaction as well as repetitive behaviors, ASD patients usually suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) problems. However, the exact mechanism underlying these disorders is not known. In this study, we examined the gross GI tract structure and GI motility in a VPA animal model of ASD. On embryonic day 12 (E12), 4 pregnant Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were subcutaneously injected with VPA (400 mg/kg) in the treatment group, and with phosphate buffered saline (PBS) in the control group; the resulting male offspring were analyzed at 4 weeks of age. VPA exposure decreased the thickness of tunica mucosa and tunica muscularis in the stomach and ileum. Other regions such as duodenum, jejunum, and colon did not show a significant difference. In high-resolution microscopic observation, atrophy of the parietal and chief cells in the stomach and absorptive cells in the ileum was observed. In addition, decreased staining of the epithelial cells was observed in the hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained ileum section. Furthermore, decreased motility in GI tract was also observed in rat offspring prenatally exposed to VPA. However, the mechanism underlying GI tract defects in VPA animal model as well as the association between abnormal GI structure and function with ASD is yet to be clearly understood. Nevertheless, the results from the present study suggest that this VPA ASD model undergoes abnormal changes in the GI structure and function, which in turn could provide beneficial clues pertaining to the pathophysiological relevance of GI complications and ASD phenotypes.
Toxicological Research 09/2013; 29(3):173-9. DOI:10.5487/TR.2013.29.3.173
"The variants found so far are mostly associated with differences in the metabolism, rather than in brain structure. The MET promoter variant rs1858830 allele “C”, found at increased rates in autism, is associated with neuronal growth and development, but also is involved in immune function and gastrointestinal repair
[19,20]. The fact that this genetic variant is present in 47% of the general population gives credence to the assertion that there is an environmental component to the development of autism. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world today. The prevalence of autism in the US has risen from 1 in 2500 in 1970 to 1 in 88 children today. People with autism present with repetitive movements and with social and communication impairments. These impairments can range from mild to profound. The estimated total lifetime societal cost of caring for one individual with autism is $3.2 million US dollars. With the rapid growth in this disorder and the great expense of caring for those with autism, it is imperative for both individuals and society that techniques be developed to model and understand autism. There is increasing evidence that those individuals diagnosed with autism present with highly diverse set of abnormalities affecting multiple systems of the body. To this date, little to no work has been done using a whole body systems biology approach to model the characteristics of this disorder. Identification and modelling of these systems might lead to new and improved treatment protocols, better diagnosis and treatment of the affected systems, which might lead to improved quality of life by themselves, and, in addition, might also help the core symptoms of autism due to the potential interconnections between the brain and nervous system with all these other systems being modeled. This paper first reviews research which shows that autism impacts many systems in the body, including the metabolic, mitochondrial, immunological, gastrointestinal and the neurological. These systems interact in complex and highly interdependent ways. Many of these disturbances have effects in most of the systems of the body. In particular, clinical evidence exists for increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and immune and mitochondrial dysfunction which can affect almost every cell in the body. Three promising research areas are discussed, hierarchical, subgroup analysis and modeling over time. This paper reviews some of the systems disturbed in autism and suggests several systems biology research areas. Autism poses a rich test bed for systems biology modeling techniques.
Journal of Clinical Bioinformatics 10/2012; 2(1):17. DOI:10.1186/2043-9113-2-17
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