Objectives: Autism and related autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders behaviorally defined by significant deficits in social interaction and communication and by the presence of restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. It has been suggested that oxidative stress and abnormal purine metabolism may play a role in the pathogenesis of ASD, but the literature reports somewhat contradictory results. The aim of this study is to assess the status of purine metabolism - expressed as serum adenosine diaminase (ADA) - and oxidative stress - expressed as serum malondialdehyde (MDA) and serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) - in male children with autism.
Methods: The present study is a cross-sectional study performed at Al-Kadhimiya Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq including measurement of serum ADA in boys with ASD. A total of 35 patients (age range 14-19 years) with autism were involved in this study together with a matching group of 40 apparently healthy boys (age range 14-16 years) who were included as controls.
Results: Serum ADA and SOD were significantly lower in boys with autism accompanied by significant higher serum MDA levels when compared with controls.
Conclusion: Patients with ASD have impaired purine metabolism and increased oxidative stress which was supported by low levels of ADA and SOD, and high level of MDA. Further biochemical or genetic studies are required to explore the nature of autism.
Adenosine diaminase; Autism; Malondialdehyde; Superoxide dismutase