Contribution of Oxidative Stress to the Pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Impact of Genetic and Environmental Factors

Part of the Oxidative Stress in Applied Basic Research and Clinical Practice book series (OXISTRESS)


Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are behaviorally defined neurodevelopmental disorders. The increased prevalence of oxidative stress in autism has been demonstrated by analyzing markers of oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation and protein and DNA oxidation), glutathione redox/antioxidant capacity, antioxidant enzymes, antioxidant proteins, methionine metabolism, and nitric oxide. Many environmental factors such as heavy metals, maternal drugs (valproic acid, thalidomide), and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (e.g., bisphenol A, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and phthalates) can induce or increase vulnerability to oxidative stress and have been suggested to be involved in the pathophysiology of ASDs. A few studies have also suggested involvement of genes involved in oxidative/nitrosative stress in autism. Here, we review evidence of increased oxidative damage coupled with reduced antioxidant defense, genetic susceptibility to oxidative/nitrosative stress, and impact of environmental agents in autism.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Autistic Child Asperger Syndrome Prenatal Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder


Autism spectrum disorders


Bisphenol A


Central nervous system




Deoxyribonucleic acid


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals


Estrogen receptors


Electron transport chain


Gamma aminobutyric acid

Glo 1

Glyoxalase 1


Glutathione peroxidase




Oxidized glutathione


Glutathione S-transferase M1


Hydrogen peroxide






Inducible nitric oxide synthase




Monoamine oxidase A


Mitochondrial dysfunction




Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5


Mitochondrial membrane potential


Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase


Nitric oxide


Peroxynitrite anions


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers


Polychlorinated biphenyls


Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified


Pervasive developmental disorders






Red blood cell


Reduced folate carrier


Reactive nitrogen species


Reactive oxygen species






Single nucleotide polymorphisms


Superoxide dismutase


Thiobarbituric acid


Tumor necrosis factor


Valproic acid


Xanthine oxidase



This work was supported in part by funds from the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Defense Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Program AS073224P2, the Autism Research Institute, and the Autism Collaboration.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurochemistryNew York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental DisabilitiesStaten IslandUSA

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