Mitochondrial enzyme dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders; a novel biomarker revealed from buccal swab analysis

Written by Michael J Goldenthal, Shirish Damle & Sudip Sheth et al.

Aim: Mitochondrial function studies in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have detected skeletal muscle mitochondrial enzyme deficiencies in respiratory complex (RC) activities. As a muscle biopsy is expensive and invasive, we assessed RC-I and RC-IV activities in buccal swabs. Methods: 92 children with ASD and 68 controls were studied with immunocapture for RC-I and microspectrophotometry for RC-IV. Results: Significant RC activity deficiencies were found in 39 (42%) ASD patients (p < 0.01) and more prevalent in more severe cases. Aberrant RC overactivity was seen in 9 children. RC-I/RC-IV activity ratio was significantly increased in 64% of the entire ASD cohort including...

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