Oxidative stress caused by increased production of free radicals and impaired functions of antioxidants remains as the major factor associated with the pathophysiology of many neuropsychiatric diseases.
Objective: The objective of the present study was to analyze the oxidative stress markers in urine sample since the collection of blood from these children is highly meticulous and also to evaluate whether these urinary markers can be correlated with the severity of autism.
Methods: The subjects of the study were 45 autistic children with different grades of severity (low functioning autism (LFA), medium functioning autism (MFA), and high functioning autism (HFA) according to Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), n=15 children in each group and 50 healthy children (age and sex matched). The boys and girls ratio involved in this study was 4:1, and they were of age 4-12 years. We determined the urinary levels of oxidative stress markers like thiobarbituric acid-reacting substances, lipid hydroperoxides, 4-hydroxy nonenal, protein carbonyls, sulfhydryl groups, total antioxidant capacity, total peroxide content, oxidative stress index, and also UA/Cr ratio in autistic children.
Results: The study observed a significant elevation in the level of oxidative stress markers in autistic children when compared with normal children. The level of antioxidants excreted in urine was found to be significantly low in autistic children. These findings when correlated with the degrees of severity, oxidative stress markers showed positive correlation with increasing order of severity (LFA>MFA>HFA), whereas antioxidants showed negative correlation.
Discussion: The study reveals that the urinary levels of oxidative stress markers can be considered as the measure of oxidative stress index in autistic children. The significant correlation between the severity of autism with urinary lipid peroxidation products also support the use of oxidative stress markers and antioxidants as biomarkers of autism.