Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a substantially increasing incidence rate. It is characterized by repetitive behavior, learning difficulties, deficits in social communication, and interactions. Numerous medications, dietary supplements, and behavioral treatments have been recommended for the management of this condition, however, there is no cure yet. Recent studies have examined the therapeutic potential of the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors in neurodevelopmental diseases, based on their proved anti-inflammatory effects, such as downregulating the expression of several proteins, including the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and the monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP-1). Furthermore, numerous previous studies revealed the potential of the SGLT2 inhibitors to provide antioxidant effects, due to their ability to reduce the generation of free radicals and upregulating the antioxidant systems, such as glutathione (GSH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), while crossing the blood brain barrier (BBB). These properties have led to significant improvements in the neurologic outcomes of multiple experimental disease models, including cerebral oxidative stress in diabetes mellitus and ischemic stroke, Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and epilepsy. Such diseases have mutual biomarkers with ASD, which potentially could be a link to fill the gap of the literature studying the potential of repurposing the SGLT2 inhibitors' use in ameliorating the symptoms of ASD. This review will look at the impact of the SGLT2 inhibitors on neurodevelopmental disorders on the various models, including humans, rats, and mice, with a focus on the SGLT2 inhibitor canagliflozin. Furthermore, this review will discuss how SGLT2 inhibitors regulate the ASD biomarkers, based on the clinical evidence supporting their functions as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Keywords: anti-inflammatory; autism spectrum disorder; canagliflozin; neurological disorders; oxidative stress; sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors.