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Mitochondrial Dysfunction in ASD

Researchers have found more evidence that there is some kind of problem with mitochondria ( the power plants of cells ) in individuals with autism.  Plasma samples of children with autism, non-autistic siblings and controls ( no family history of ASD) were analysed and found to show' universal and unambiguous alterations in lipid metabolism' as well as reduced levels of glutathione, methionine and cysteine.

Lab tests on normal liver, neuronal and astrocyte ( cells that attach neurones to blood vessels ) cells showed that when exposed to high levels of glutamate ( a biochemical that excites nerve cells ) there was a decrease in levels of glutathione, methionine and cysteine similar to the abnormalities seen with the autistic subjects.

Source: 'Novel plasma phospholipid biomarkers of autism: mitochondrial dysfunction as a putative causative mechanism'  Prostaglandins Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids October 2009 81(4) P253-264 

Posted: August 2010 

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