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Neurobiological Factors of Executive Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and a tendency to stereotypical behavior. Neuropsychological deficit in executive functions – cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, working memory, etc. – makes a significant contribution to the development of these symptoms. The key role in these processes is played by the prefrontal and cingulate areas of the cortex, which are regulated by cerebral neuromodulatory systems including cholinergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic, and dopaminergic ergicities. In the early stages of brain development, neuromodulators operate as neurotrophic factors and regulate the balance of arousal and inhibition in the cerebral cortex. The pathogenesis of autism may be associated with impaired metabolism of one or more neuromodulators. The purpose of this review is to consider the role of neuromodulators in the formed and developing brain and the contribution made by neuromodulator imbalance to the development of autism symptoms in children and adults.

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Translated from Zhurnal Vysshei Nervnoi Deyatel’nosti imeni I. P. Pavlova, Vol. 73, No. 2, pp. 147–172, March–April, 2023.

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Kozunova, G.L., Zakirov, F.K., Rytikova, A.M. et al. Neurobiological Factors of Executive Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neurosci Behav Physi 53, 1158–1174 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11055-023-01512-7

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