Link between Sex Hormones and ASD

Modifications in the brain’s estrogen signaling may partially describe the greater rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among men, with respect to new research presented in the journal Molecular Autism.Autism_Services_at_AHRC

Autism spectrum disorder is a word covering the neuro developmental disorders autism, childhood disintegrative disorder and Asperger’s syndrome among others. These conditions are generally characterized by reduced social interaction and communication and limited or repetitive behavior.

Study has proven that there are 3 boys with autism for each and every girl with the disease, and ten boys with Asperger’s syndrome for every girl with Asperger’s. These proportions have lead scientists to suspect that sex hormones – like as high levels of testosterone – may perform a part in impacting the condition.

In 2004, scientists from Cambridge University, examined testosterone levels in the wombs of 70 women who are pregnant. Right after the women’s children had arrived at the age of 4 years, their mother and father were requested to finish a checklist developed to pick up any behavioral or social complications related with autism in their children.

The group reported that the kids whose mothers had higher levels of testosterone in their wombs while pregnant were less curious, less willing to make eye contact, and identified it more challenging to fit into social groups than other kids.

Even though the kids in that research were not autistic, the scientists were fascinated in testing a concept that autism “might be an excessive of the male brain.”

New research ‘first to demonstrate Link between Sex Hormones and ASD’

Now, scientists from Georgia Regents University have examined brain tissue from 13 individuals who had ASD and 13 control patients who didn’t have ASD. The scientists desired to measure levels of aromatase and the estrogen receptor molecule ERβ in the brain tissue. Aromatase is an enzyme accountable for transforming testosterone into the most effective estrogen – estradiol.

Although it appears to be like a low number of subjects, the authors describe that obtaining the brain tissue samples of individuals with ASD for experimental use is very challenging.

The scientists report that they identified 35% less ERβ mRNA and 38% less aromatase mRNA in the brain tissue from the individuals with ASD than in the control subject brain tissue.

The mRNA of estrogen receptor co-factors SRC1, CBP and P/CAF, was also decrease in the ASD brains, at 35%, 76% and 53% correspondingly.

The scientists recommend that the reduced levels of aromatase and these estrogen receptors could restrict the transformation of testosterone to estradiol, which outcomes in enhanced testosterone levels.

Main author Anilkumar Pillai states that this is the initial research to present that estrogen receptors in the brains of individuals with ASD may be various to other individuals. Though this distinction could be a cause for the gender bias, Pillai warnings that the team still require to identify what leads to the decrease in production of estrogen-related proteins.

Pillai says:

“It is worth looking at whether drugs which regulate estrogen reception, but do not lead to feminization, could enable for the long-term therapy of male sufferers with autism spectrum disorders. Current therapy consists of the use of antipsychotics, which has long been a main issue as these sufferers are typically still in a stage of life where brain growth is very fast. However, additional research is required to test the estrogen mechanism.”

Recently Clinical Research Society published an article explaining how sex hormone levels influences sudden cardiac arrest with title Link between Sex Hormones Levels and Sudden Cardiac Arrest