High frequency of gastrointestinal yeast presence in ASD subjects was shown through a simple cultural approach (Candida spp. in 57.5 % of ASDs and no controls); the identification of aggressive form (pseudo-hyphae presenting) of Candida spp. at light microscope means that adhesion to intestinal mucosa is facilitated. Dysbiosis appears sustained by lowered Lactobacillus spp. and decreased number of Clostridium spp. Absence of C. difficilis and its toxins in both ASDs and controls is also shown. Low-mild gut inflammation and augmented intestinal permeability were demonstrated together with the presence of GI symptoms. Significant linear correlation was found between disease severity (CARs score) and calprotectin and Clostridium spp. presence. Also GI symptoms, such as constipation and alternating bowel, did correlate (multivariate analyses) with the increased permeability to lactulose. The present data provide rationale basis to a possible specific therapeutic intervention in restoring gut homeostasis in ASDs.
Keywords: Autism; Candida; Gastrointestinal dysbiosis; Intestinal permeability; Microbiota.