Affiliation: Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Yixueyuan Road 138, Shanghai 200032, China.
Mounting attention is being focused on the canonical Wnt signaling pathway which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autism in some our and other recent studies. The canonical Wnt pathway is involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and migration, especially during nervous system development. Given its various functions, dysfunction of the canonical Wnt pathway may exert adverse effects on neurodevelopment and therefore leads to the pathogenesis of autism. Here, we review human and animal studies that implicate the canonical Wnt signal transduction pathway in the pathogenesis of autism. We also describe the crosstalk between the canonical Wnt pathway and the Notch signaling pathway in several types of autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome and Fragile X. Further research on the crosstalk between the canonical Wnt signaling pathway and other signaling cascades in autism may be an efficient avenue to understand the etiology of autism and ultimately lead to alternative medications for autism-like phenotypes.