The molecular basis of the pathophysiological role of oxidative stress in autism is understudied. Herein, we used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) array to analyze transcriptional pattern of 84 oxidative stress genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cell pools isolated from 32 autistic patients (16 mild/moderate and 16 severe) and 16 healthy subjects (each sample is a pool from 4 autistic patients or 4 controls). The PCR array data were further validated by quantitative real-time PCR in 80 autistic children (55 mild/moderate and 25 severe) and 60 healthy subjects. Our data revealed downregulation in GCLM, SOD2, NCF2, PRNP, and PTGS2 transcripts (1.5, 3.8, 1.2, 1.7, and 2.2, respectively; P < .05 for all) in autistic group compared with controls. In addition, TXN and FTH1 exhibited 1.4- and 1.7-fold downregulation, respectively, in severe autistic patients when compared with mild/moderate group (P = .005 and .0008, respectively). This study helps in a better understanding of the underlying biology and related genetic factors of autism, and most importantly, it presents suggested candidate biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis purposes as well as targets for therapeutic intervention.
Keywords: Autism; PCR array; ROS; gene expression; neurodevelopmental disorders; oxidative stress.