Ionic Channels as Potential Targets for the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review

Curr Neuropharmacol. 2022;20(10):1834-1849. doi: 10.2174/1570159X19666210809102547.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that directly affects brain functions and can culminate in delayed intellectual development, problems in verbal communication, difficulties in social interaction, and stereotyped behaviors. Its etiology reveals a genetic basis that can be strongly influenced by socio-environmental factors. Ion channels controlled by ligand voltage-activated calcium, sodium, and potassium channels may play important roles in modulating sensory and cognitive responses, and their dysfunctions may be closely associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. This is due to ionic flow, which is of paramount importance to maintaining physiological conditions in the central nervous system and triggers action potentials, gene expression, and cell signaling. However, since ASD is a multifactorial disease, treatment is directed only to secondary symptoms. Therefore, this research aims to gather evidence concerning the principal pathophysiological mechanisms involving ion channels in order to recognize their importance as therapeutic targets for the treatment of central and secondary ASD symptoms.

Keywords: Channelopathies; autism; brain function; ion channels controlled by ligands; ion channels controlled by voltage; neurodevelopmental disorders; spectrum disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / drug therapy
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ion Channels
  • Calcium