The gut: a triggering place for autism - possibilities and challenges

Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2012 Aug 24;23. doi: 10.3402/mehd.v23i0.18982. eCollection 2012.


Background: During the recent years, a substantial amount of new data has underlined the importance of the gut as a triggering place for autism. Temporary improvements in clinical status following dietary alterations and the same that may occur after an antibiotic therapy are reported. Additionally, increasing numbers of bacteria belonging to certain groups, such as clostridia, desulfovibrios, and sutterella, have been reported. So far, however, presence of any bacterial group has never been causatively linked to autism, and every time a new candidate organism is introduced the same questions have to be asked: What is the cause? What is the consequence? What is the confounder? The possibilities of answering these questions are hampered by difficulties in obtaining adequate samples. Therefore, more efforts have been made to those biochemical methods that probe possible functional alterations in the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota in autistic children.

Conclusion: Autism is a disorder involving many organs and their functions, including the GI microbiota. More knowledge about the GI microbiota and its cross-talks with the host creates possibilities for future diagnostic and therapeutic improvements.

Keywords: Clostridium; Desulfovibrio; Sutterella; autism; intestine; microbiota.