Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Maheen F Siddiqui1*, Clare Elwell2 and Mark H Johnson1
1Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College, London, UK
2Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, University College London, London, UK
- *Corresponding Author:
- Siddiqui MF
Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development Birkbeck College
London, United Kingdom
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: July 26, 2016; Accepted date: September 20, 2016; Published date: September 27, 2016
Citation: Siddiqui MF, Elwell C, Johnson MH (2016) Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism Open Access 6:190. doi:10.4172/2165-7890.1000190
Copyright: ©2016 Siddiqui MF, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are classified as neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by diminished social communication and interaction. Recently, evidence has accrued that a significant proportion of individuals with autism have concomitant diseases such as mitochondrial disease and abnormalities of energy generation. This has therefore led to the hypothesis that autism may be linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. We review such studies reporting decreased activity of mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complexes and reduced gene expression of mitochondrial genes, in particular genes of respiratory chain complexes, in individuals with autism. Overall, the findings support the hypothesis that there is an association of ASD with impaired mitochondrial function; however, many of the studies have small sample sizes and there is variability in the techniques utilised. There is therefore a vital need to utilise novel imaging techniques, such as near-infrared spectroscopy, that will allow noninvasive measurement of metabolic markers for neuronal activity such as cytochrome c oxidase, in order to better establish the link between autism and mitochondrial dysfunction.