Butantan maps possible markers in urine for diagnosing autism

Butantan maps possible markers in urine for diagnosing autism
Butantan maps possible markers in urine for diagnosing autism

A study carried out by the Butantan Institute with 44 children aged 3 to 10 years old pointed out the possibility of a link between changes in proteins and amino acids present in urine and the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). According to the researchers, the findings may indicate potential biomarkers both for confirming the condition and for monitoring its evolution.

For the trial, the group compared samples from 22 children diagnosed with autism with those collected from 22 neurotypical children. The results indicated changes in proteins and the amino acids arginine, glycine, leucine, threonine, aspartic acid, alanine, histidine and tyrosine in the urine of children with ASD.

“Autism is a highly complex spectrum, influenced by several factors. Likewise, its monitoring must be multidisciplinary: behavioral therapies, psychotherapy and nutrition, for example, are practices that aim to improve and control the condition”, explained, in a statement, Ivo Lebrun, researcher at the Biochemistry and Biophysics Laboratory at Butantan.

The results can contribute to future approaches because previous studies have shown that, in the development phase of neurotransmitter receptors — still during the formation of the fetus or in newborns, the amino acid imbalance can lead to the brain becoming more vulnerable to overstimulation.

Other research links this type of metabolic dysregulation with the presence of comorbidities that can affect people living with autism, such as gastrointestinal disorders that can manifest with intolerance to dairy products and gluten. The work was published in the scientific journal Biomarkers Journal.

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Advantages of biomarkers for autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition linked to neurodevelopment that presents with difficulties in communication, discomfort in social situations, food selectivity and repetitive behaviors, for example.

According to the Ministry of Health, signs may become more noticeable around 2 or 3 years of age. However, the diagnosis remains a challenge for many families, as a multidisciplinary assessment is needed to resolve the situation and not everyone has easy access to neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists and speech therapists.

For this reason, researchers around the world have been committed to developing ways to track the disorder and are working on databases that can be fed with blood samples and genetic sequencing.

According to Butantan, biomarkers present in urine have the advantage of requiring only one type of collection that can be carried out simply and at home, avoiding trips to laboratories and more invasive procedures, such as blood tests.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Butantan maps markers urine diagnosing autism



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