Towards a future molecular diagnosis of autism: Recent advances in biomarkers research from saliva samples

Int J Dev Neurosci. 2018 Jun:67:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2018.03.004. Epub 2018 Mar 12.


Autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is currently based on clinical observations and behavioral evaluations exclusively, without any biological determination. Molecular biomarkers are usually obtained from biological fluids, such as blood or urine, generally through invasive and uncomfortable procedures. Patients with autism are characterized by sensory reactivity and behavioral difficulties which make sample collection problematic. Saliva has emerged as a feasible alternative to obtain relevant biological information and is especially indicated in the case of children with autism due to its painless and noninvasive sampling characteristics. Furthermore, saliva represents a valuable resource to study candidate biomarkers of autism. This has resulted in a number of interesting studies reported during the last 5 years that we have gathered and briefly discussed.

Keywords: Autism; Biomarker; Diagnosis; Saliva; miRNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / genetics
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Pathology, Molecular / methods*
  • Pathology, Molecular / trends*
  • Saliva / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers