Exploring the association of autism spectrum disorders and constipation through analysis of the gut microbiome

Shih Chen Fu, Chung Han Lee, Hsiuying Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Over the past two decades, research into the role of the gut microbiome in regulating the central nervous system has rapidly increased. Several neurodevelopmental diseases have been linked to the unbalance of gut microbiota, including autism. Children on the autism spectrum often suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, including constipation, which is four times more prevalent than it is in children without autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Although studies in animals have shown the crucial role of the microbiota in key aspects of neurodevelopment, there is currently no consensus on how the alteration of microbial composition affects the pathogenesis of ASD, let alone how it exerts an impact on the following comorbidities. In our study, we were able to control the effects of constipation on gut dysbiosis and distinguish neuropathological-related and gastrointestinal-related bacteria in ASD patients separately. By analyzing published data, eight additional bacteria significantly altered in autistic individuals were identified in our study. All of them had a decreased relative abundance in ASD patients, except Lactobacillaceae and Peptostreptococcaceae. Eighteen and eleven bacteria were significantly correlated with ASD symptoms and constipation, respectively. Among those, six bacteria were overlapped between the groups. We have found another six bacteria highly associated with constipation status in ASD patients only. By conducting Welch’s t-test, we were able to demonstrate the critical roles of microbes in ASD core and gastrointestinal symptoms and raised the hypotheses of their confounding and mediating effects on the relationship between the two symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number667
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Bacteria
  • Constipation
  • Gut microbiome
  • Interaction
  • Microbiome

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