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Open Access Research article

Novel metabolic biomarkers related to sulfur-dependent detoxification pathways in autistic patients of Saudi Arabia

Yusra A Al-Yafee1, Laila Y Al- Ayadhi234, Samina H Haq1 and Afaf K El-Ansary123*

Author Affiliations

1 Biochemistry Department, Science College, King Saud University, P.O box 22452, Zip code11495, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

2 Autism Research and Treatment Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

3 Shaik AL-Amodi Autism Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

4 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:139  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-139

Published: 4 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Xenobiotics are neurotoxins that dramatically alter the health of the child. In addition, an inefficient detoxification system leads to oxidative stress, gut dysbiosis, and immune dysfunction. The consensus among physicians who treat autism with a biomedical approach is that those on the spectrum are burdened with oxidative stress and immune problems. In a trial to understand the role of detoxification in the etiology of autism, selected parameters related to sulfur-dependent detoxification mechanisms in plasma of autistic children from Saudi Arabia will be investigated compared to control subjects.

Methods

20 males autistic children aged 3-15 years and 20 age and gender matching healthy children as control group were included in this study. Levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), total (GSH+GSSG), glutathione status (GSH/GSSG), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione- s-transferase (GST), thioredoxin (Trx), thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) and peroxidoxins (Prxs I and III) were determined.

Results

Reduced glutathione, total glutathione, GSH/GSSG and activity levels of GST were significantly lower, GR shows non-significant differences, while, Trx, TrxR and both Prx I and III recorded a remarkably higher values in autistics compared to control subjects.

Conclusion

The impaired glutathione status together with the elevated Trx and TrxR and the remarkable over expression of both Prx I and Prx III, could be used as diagnostic biomarkers of autism.