Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 10, pp 1966-1975

First online:

Abnormal Transmethylation/transsulfuration Metabolism and DNA Hypomethylation Among Parents of Children with Autism

  • S. Jill JamesAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesArkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute Email author 
  • , Stepan MelnykAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • , Stefanie JerniganAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • , Amanda HubanksAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • , Shannon RoseAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • , David W. GaylorAffiliated withDepartment of Biostatistics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

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Abstract

An integrated metabolic profile reflects the combined influence of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors that affect the candidate pathway of interest. Recent evidence suggests that some autistic children may have reduced detoxification capacity and may be under chronic oxidative stress. Based on reports of abnormal methionine and glutathione metabolism in autistic children, it was of interest to examine the same metabolic profile in the parents. The results indicated that parents share similar metabolic deficits in methylation capacity and glutathione-dependent antioxidant/detoxification capacity observed in many autistic children. Studies are underway to determine whether the abnormal profile in parents reflects linked genetic polymorphisms in these pathways or whether it simply reflects the chronic stress of coping with an autistic child.

Keywords

Autism Homocysteine Glutathione DNA methylation Parents