Genes constitute a priority risk factor for the development of autism.However, the latest findings show that autism may also be induced by intestinal bacteria.
While the outcome of the research is very controversial, it is indicative of close links between the intestines and the brain.After mice had been colonised by microbes originating from the faeces of people suffering from autism, it was observed that they manifested autism-like behaviour.However, the result does not suggest that intestinal bacteria cause autism, indicating that it is the makeup of one's gut flora may contribute to the development of the disorder.
John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork, Ireland, who was not involved in the research, describes the article as quite encouraging.The scientist adds that the concept of that molecules being an outcome of bacterial digestion may affect one's brain activity is plausible, makes sense and may facilitate the development of autism research programmes.
Many previous observations have already shown differences between the compositions of the intestinal microbiomes in those unaffected and affected by autism.However, they did not provide grounds for determining whether the lack of microbial balance is responsible for the symptoms of autism or is a result of the disorder.The researchers carrying out the latest research identified differences between two groups of mice with regard to the levels of 27 metabolites.Those were particularly the rodents with microbes originating from people with autism that had a lower level of taurine, as well as 5-aminovaleric acid (5AV) - the molecules known for their ability to bind to neurons and inhibit their activity. This discovery is consistent with the theory that it may the imbalance between the brain excitatory and inhibitory signals that underlies autism.