Affiliation: George Anderson, CRC, Rm 30, 57 Laurel St. Glasgow G11 7QT, Scotland, UK.
The autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) form a set of multi-faceted disorders with significant genetic, epigenetic and environmental determinants. Oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), immuno-inflammatory pathways, mitochondrial dysfunction and dysregulation of the tryptophan catabolite (TRYCATs) pathway play significant interactive roles in driving the early developmental etiology and course of ASD. O&NS interactions with immunoinflammatory pathways mediate their effects centrally via the regulation of astrocyte and microglia responses, including regional variations in TRYCATs produced. Here we review the nature of these interactions and propose an early developmental model whereby different ASD genetic susceptibilities interact with environmental and epigenetic processes, resulting in glia biasing the patterning of central interarea interactions. A role for decreased local melatonin and N-acetylserotonin production by immune and glia cells may be a significant treatment target.