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.
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ABSTRACT: Cell types rich in mitochondria, including neurons, display a high energy demand and a need for calcium buffering. The importance of mitochondria for proper neuronal function is stressed by the occurrence of neurological defects in patients suffering from a great variety of diseases caused by mutations in mitochondrial genes. Genetic and pharmacological evidence also reveal a role of these organelles in various aspects of neuronal physiology and in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Yet the mechanisms by which mitochondria can affect neurotransmission largely remain to be elucidated. In this review we focus on experimental data that suggest a critical function of synaptic mitochondria in the function and organization of synaptic vesicle pools, and in neurotransmitter release during intense neuronal activity. We discuss how calcium handling, ATP production and other mitochondrial mechanisms may influence synaptic vesicle pool organization and synaptic function. Given the link between synaptic mitochondrial function and neuronal communication, efforts toward better understanding mitochondrial biology may lead to novel therapeutic approaches of neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and psychiatric disorders that are at least in part caused by mitochondrial deficits.Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience 09/2010; 2:139. DOI:10.3389/fnsyn.2010.00139
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ABSTRACT: Autism Spectrum Disorders encompass severe developmental disorders characterized by variable degrees of impairment in language, communication and social skills, as well as by repetitive and stereotypic patterns of behaviour. Substantial percentages of autistic patients display peripheral markers of mitochondrial energy metabolism dysfunction, such as (a) elevated lactate, pyruvate, and alanine levels in blood, urine and/or cerebrospinal fluid, (b) serum carnitine deficiency, and/or (c) enhanced oxidative stress. These biochemical abnormalities are accompanied by highly heterogeneous clinical presentations, which generally (but by no means always) encompass neurological and systemic symptoms relatively unusual in idiopathic autistic disorder. In some patients, these abnormalities have been successfully explained by the presence of specific mutations or rearrangements in their mitochondrial or nuclear DNA. However, in the majority of cases, abnormal energy metabolism cannot be immediately linked to specific genetic or genomic defects. Recent evidence from post-mortem studies of autistic brains points toward abnormalities in mitochondrial function as possible downstream consequences of dysreactive immunity and altered calcium (Ca(2+)) signalling.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2010; 1797(6-7):1130-7. DOI:10.1016/j.bbabio.2010.04.018 · 4.66 Impact Factor