Ming, X, et al., Metabolic Perturbance in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Metabolomics Study. Journal of Proteome Research, 2012.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of biological disorders with associated metabolic derangement. This study aimed to identify a pattern of metabolic perturbance in ASD using metabolomics in urinary specimens from 48 children with ASD and 53 age matched controls. Using a combination of liquid- and gas-chromatography-based mass spectrometry, we detected the levels of 82 metabolites (53 of which were increased) that were significantly altered between the ASD and the control groups using osmolality normalized data. Pattern analysis showed that the levels of several amino acids such as glycine, serine, threonine, alanine, histidine, glutamyl amino acids and the organic acid, taurine were significantly (p≤0.05) lower in ASD children. The levels of antioxidants such as carnosine were also reduced in ASD (p=0.054). Furthermore, several gut bacterial metabolites were significantly altered in ASD children who had gastrointestinal dysfunction. Overall, this study detected abnormal amino acid metabolism, increased oxidative stress, and altered gut microbiomes in ASD. The relationship of altered gut microbial co-metabolism and the disrupted metabolisms requires further investigation.