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Autism spectrum disorder associated with altered gut microbiome in children

Autism spectrum disorder associated with altered gut microbiome in children
Random forest models for the diagnosis of ASD. Credit: Nature Microbiology (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41564-024-01739-1

Specific bacterial and non-bacterial components of the gut microbiome and their functions could contribute to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in male and female children, according to a study published in Nature Microbiology. The research suggests that a specific subset of these components could inform future diagnostic and mechanistic studies.

The relationship between the gut microbiome and ASD has been a subject of previous research, but this has focused on shifts in the composition of gut bacteria in individuals with ASD compared with neurotypical individuals. Whether other members of the gut microbiome, such as archaea, fungi and viruses, as well as gut microbiome function (or genes present), are altered is unclear.

Siew Ng and colleagues performed metagenomic sequencing on fecal samples from 1,627 male and female (24.4%) children with or without ASD aged 1–13 years old from five cohorts in China.

The authors analyzed these samples together with data on additional factors including diet, medication and co-morbidity. After controlling for these confounding factors, the authors identified 14 archaea, 51 bacteria, seven fungi, 18 viruses, 27 microbial genes and 12 that were altered in children with ASD.

Using , Ng and colleagues created a model based on a panel of 31 microbes and functions, which had higher diagnostic accuracy in identifying both males and females with ASD compared with panels of markers from a single kingdom (such as bacteria or archaea).

The authors suggest that these 31 markers could have clinical diagnostic potential given their reproducibility across multiple cohorts. These findings may also aid future hypothesis-driven mechanistic work on the gut microbiota and ASD.

More information: Qi Su et al, Multikingdom and functional gut microbiota markers for autism spectrum disorder, Nature Microbiology (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41564-024-01739-1

Journal information: Nature Microbiology
Citation: Autism spectrum disorder associated with altered gut microbiome in children (2024, July 9) retrieved 23 July 2024 from
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