Neurology Central

Autism development may be linked to disruption of placental neurosteroids

Scientists from the Children’s National Health System (Washington DC, USA) have determined that disruption of allopregnanolone (ALLO) delivery to the fetus during pregnancy can increase the likelihood that the child is born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Their findings were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ Annual Meeting 2019 (24 April–1 May, Baltimore, MD, USA).

ALLO plays a role in preparing the fetal brain for neonatal life. Levels of the progesterone derivative rise towards the end of gestation.

Premature birth is a major risk factor for brain injury and ASD, and as premature birth abruptly stops exposure of the fetus to ALLO, there could be a link between ALLO supply and brain development.

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