Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex behavioral syndrome that is characterized by speech and language disorders, intellectual impairment, learning and motor dysfunctions. Several genetic and environmental factors are suspected to affect the ASD phenotype including air pollution, exposure to pesticides, maternal infections, inflammatory conditions, dietary factors or consumption of antibiotics during pregnancy. Many children with ASD shows abnormalities in gastrointestinal (GI) physiology, including increased intestinal permeability, overall microbiota alterations, and gut infection. Moreover, they are “picky eaters” and the existence of specific sensory patterns in ASD patients could represent one of the main aspects in hampering feeding. GI disorders are associated with an altered composition of the gut microbiota. Gut microbiome is able to communicate with brain activities through microbiota-derived signaling molecules, immune mediators, gut hormones as well as vagal and spinal afferent neurons. Since the diet induces changes in the intestinal microbiota and in the production of molecules, such as the SCFA, we wanted to investigate the role that nutritional intervention can have on GI microbiota composition and thus on its influence on behavior, GI symptoms and microbiota composition and report which are the beneficial effect on ASD conditions.
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Gut microbiome
- Nutritional status