Brief report: High frequency of biochemical markers for mitochondrial dysfunction in autism: no association with the mitochondrial aspartate/glutamate carrier SLC25A12 gene.
ABSTRACT In the present study we confirm the previously reported high frequency of biochemical markers of mitochondrial dysfunction, namely hyperlactacidemia and increased lactate/pyruvate ratio, in a significant fraction of 210 autistic patients. We further examine the involvement of the mitochondrial aspartate/glutamate carrier gene (SLC25A12) in mitochondrial dysfunction associated with autism. We found no evidence of association of the SLC25A12 gene with lactate and lactate/pyruvate distributions or with autism in 241 nuclear families with one affected individual. We conclude that while mitochondrial dysfunction may be one of the most common medical conditions associated with autism, variation at the SLC25A12 gene does not explain the high frequency of mitochondrial dysfunction markers and is not associated with autism in this sample of autistic patients.
- SourceAvailable from: Mohamed Essa Musthafa[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Mitochondria play important roles in generation of free radicals, ATP formation, and in apoptosis. We studied the levels of mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complexes, that is, complexes I, II, III, IV, and V, in brain tissue samples from the cerebellum and the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal cortices of subjects with autism and age-matched control subjects. The subjects were divided into two groups according to their ages: Group A (children, ages 4-10 years) and Group B (adults, ages 14-39 years). In Group A, we observed significantly lower levels of complexes III and V in the cerebellum (p<0.05), of complex I in the frontal cortex (p<0.05), and of complexes II (p<0.01), III (p<0.01), and V (p<0.05) in the temporal cortex of children with autism as compared to age-matched control subjects, while none of the five ETC complexes was affected in the parietal and occipital cortices in subjects with autism. In the cerebellum and temporal cortex, no overlap was observed in the levels of these ETC complexes between subjects with autism and control subjects. In the frontal cortex of Group A, a lower level of ETC complexes was observed in a subset of autism cases, that is, 60% (3/5) for complexes I, II, and V, and 40% (2/5) for complexes III and IV. A striking observation was that the levels of ETC complexes were similar in adult subjects with autism and control subjects (Group B). A significant increase in the levels of lipid hydroperoxides, an oxidative stress marker, was also observed in the cerebellum and temporal cortex in the children with autism. These results suggest that the expression of ETC complexes is decreased in the cerebellum and the frontal and temporal regions of the brain in children with autism, which may lead to abnormal energy metabolism and oxidative stress. The deficits observed in the levels of ETC complexes in children with autism may readjust to normal levels by adulthood.Journal of Neurochemistry 01/2011; 117(2):209-20. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Autism is an etiologically and clinically heterogeneous group of disorders, diagnosed solely by the complex behavioral phenotype. On the basis of the high-heritability index, geneticists are confident that autism will be the first behavioral disorder for which the genetic basis can be well established. Although it was initially assumed that major genome-wide and candidate gene association studies would lead most directly to common autism genes, progress has been slow. Rather, most discoveries have come from studies of known genetic disorders associated with the behavioral phenotype. New technology, especially array chromosomal genomic hybridization, has both increased the identification of putative autism genes and raised to approximately 25%, the percentage of children for whom an autism-related genetic change can be identified. Incorporating clinical geneticists into the diagnostic and autism research arenas is vital to the field. Interpreting this new technology and deciphering autism's genetic montage require the skill set of the clinical geneticist including knowing how to acquire and interpret family pedigrees, how to analyze complex morphologic, neurologic, and medical phenotypes, sorting out heterogeneity, developing rational genetic models, and designing studies. The current emphasis on deciphering autism spectrum disorders has accelerated the field of neuroscience and demonstrated the necessity of multidisciplinary research that must include clinical geneticists both in the clinics and in the design and implementation of basic, clinical, and translational research.Genetics in medicine: official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics 02/2011; 13(4):278-94. · 3.92 Impact Factor
Article: Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Using data of the current prevalence of autism as 200:10,000 and a 1:2000 incidence of definite mitochondrial (mt) disease, if there was no linkage of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and mt disease, it would be expected that 1 in 110 subjects with mt disease would have ASD and 1 in 2000 individuals with ASD would have mt disease. The co-occurrence of autism and mt disease is much higher than these figures, suggesting a possible pathogenetic relationship. Such hypothesis was initially suggested by the presence of biochemical markers of abnormal mt metabolic function in patients with ASD, including elevation of lactate, pyruvate, or alanine levels in blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or brain; carnitine level in plasma; and level of organic acids in urine, and by demonstrating impaired mt fatty acid β-oxidation. More recently, mtDNA genetic mutations or deletions or mutations of nuclear genes regulating mt function have been associated with ASD in patients or in neuropathologic studies on the brains of patients with autism. In addition, the presence of dysfunction of the complexes of the mt respiratory chain or electron transport chain, indicating abnormal oxidative phosphorylation, has been reported in patients with ASD and in the autopsy samples of brains. Possible pathogenetic mechanisms linking mt dysfunction and ASD include mt activation of the immune system, abnormal mt Ca(2+) handling, and mt-induced oxidative stress. Genetic and epigenetic regulation of brain development may also be disrupted by mt dysfunction, including mt-induced oxidative stress. The role of the purinergic system linking mt dysfunction and ASD is currently under investigation. In summary, there is genetic and biochemical evidence for a mitochondria (mt) role in the pathogenesis of ASD in a subset of children. To determine the prevalence and type of genetic and biochemical mt defects in ASD, there is a need for further research using the latest genetic technology such as next-generation sequencing, microarrays, bioinformatics, and biochemical assays. Because of the availability of potential therapeutic options for mt disease, successful research results could translate into better treatment and outcome for patients with mt-associated ASD. This requires a high index of suspicion of mt disease in children with autism who are diagnosed early.Seminars in pediatric neurology 09/2013; 20(3):163-175.