Rhythm Definition of Biomarkers for an Objective Measure of Autism

Helen V Ratajczak, PhD, Robert B Sothern, PhD


A review of the literature noted 16 biomarker candidates that could be utilized to develop an objective measure of autism, and we found that 11 of them were quantifiable in saliva collected twice in the evening from 12 neurotypical adults. These biomarkers (and body systems) in which autism is manifest were: Glutamine and Glutamic acid (ubiquitous), CD26 (gastrointestinal); C4B and IFNγ (immunologic); Cortisol, Melatonin, Testosterone (neurologic); and GSH, GSSG, Metallothionein-2 (toxicologic).  These 11 biomarkers also monitor the three unifying concepts of the cause of autism: oxidative stress, immune glutamatergic dysfunction, and pineal gland malfunction.  Saliva was used since, of the typical body fluids, its collection is least stressful to the individual. Because the concentrations of biomarkers can vary dramatically over 24-hours, circadian studies are being planned, since defining the circadian rhythm of each biomarker will allow future testing using as few assays at appropriate times as necessary in order to obtain a valid objective measure of autism. A diagnosis based on chemical measurements can then be made, resulting in a patient-specific profile that will rank the biomarkers in the order of their difference from normal. It is hoped that this profile will provide a guide for biomarker replacement therapy to improve the symptoms of autism, as has been demonstrated for melatonin and several components of the methionine cycle (involved in detoxification).

[N A J Med Sci. 2013;6(3):154-157.   DOI:  10.7156/najms.2013.0603154]


autism, biomarkers, saliva, circadian rhythm

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