Distinct genetic risk based on association of MET in families with co-occurring autism and gastrointestinal conditions.
ABSTRACT 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.
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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.
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ABSTRACT: While autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by communication impairments, social abnormalities, and stereotypic behaviors, several medical comorbidities are observed in autistic individuals. Of these, gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities are of particular interest given their reported prevalence and correlation with the severity of core autism-related behavioral abnormalities. This review discusses the GI pathologies seen in ASD individuals and the association of particular GI conditions with known genetic and environmental risk factors for autism. It further addresses how GI abnormalities can affect the neuropathological and behavioral features of ASD, as well as the development of autism-related endophenotypes such as immune dysregulation, hyperserotonemia, and metabolic dysfunction. Finally, it presents emerging evidence for a gut-brain connection in autism, wherein GI dysfunction may contribute to the pathogenesis or severity of ASD symptoms.Harvard Review of Psychiatry 01/2014; 22(2):104-11. · 3.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent research has established that many children and adult diagnosed with autism experience gastrointestinal symptoms. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that gastrointestinal symptoms can impact drug availability and absorption. In this paper we explore the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms in autism and put forth a call for a formal evaluation of the potential relationship between gastrointestinal symptoms and psychotropic medication effectiveness in individuals with autism.The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 05/2014; 54(10). · 2.47 Impact Factor