Evidence of Microglial Activation in Autism and Its Possible Role in Brain Underconnectivity

Neuron Glia Biol. 2011 May;7(2-4):205-13. doi: 10.1017/S1740925X12000142. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Abstract

Evidence indicates that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from an ongoing neuroinflammatory process in different regions of the brain involving microglial activation. When microglia remain activated for an extended period, the production of mediators is sustained longer than usual and this increase in mediators contributes to loss of synaptic connections and neuronal cell death. Microglial activation can then result in a loss of connections or underconnectivity. Underconnectivity is reported in many studies in autism. One way to control neuroinflammation is to reduce or inhibit microglial activation. It is plausible that by reducing brain inflammation and microglial activation, the neurodestructive effects of chronic inflammation could be reduced and allow for improved developmental outcomes. Future studies that examine treatments that may reduce microglial activation and neuroinflammation, and ultimately help to mitigate symptoms in ASD, are warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism*
  • Autistic Disorder / pathology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Microglia / pathology
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Nerve Net / pathology*