JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dietary glycemic index modulates the behavioral and biochemical abnormalities associated with autism spectrum disorder

A Currais, C Farrokhi, R Dargusch, M Goujon-Svrzic, P Maher
Molecular Psychiatry 2016, 21 (3): 426-36
26055422
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder of unknown etiology, but very likely resulting from both genetic and environmental factors. There is good evidence for immune system dysregulation in individuals with ASD. However, the contribution of insults such as dietary factors that can also activate the immune system have not been explored in the context of ASD. In this paper, we show that the dietary glycemic index has a significant impact on the ASD phenotype. By using BTBR mice, an inbred strain that displays behavioral traits that reflect the diagnostic symptoms of human ASD, we found that the diet modulates plasma metabolites, neuroinflammation and brain markers of neurogenesis in a manner that is highly reflective of ASD in humans. Overall, the manuscript supports the idea that ASD results from gene-environment interactions and that in the presence of a genetic predisposition to ASD, diet can make a large difference in the expression of the condition.

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