ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202306.0050.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Neuroscience And Neurology Keywords: ASD; autism; autistic spectrum disease; NSE; Neuron-specific enolase; autism biomarker; neuroinflammation; neuronal apoptosis; mTOR
Online: 1 June 2023 (07:30:35 CEST)
Autistic spectrum disease (ASD) is an increasingly common diagnosis nowadays with a prevalence of 1-2% in most countries. Its complex causality – a combination of genetic, immune, metabolic and environmental factors - is translated into pleiomorphic developmental disorders of various severity, which have in common two main aspects: repetitive, restrictive behaviors, and difficulties in social interaction varying from awkward habits and verbalization to complete lack of interest from the ASD child for the outside world. The wide variety of ASD causes also makes it very difficult to find a common denominator – a disease biomarker and medication – and currently there is no commonly used diagnostic and therapeutic strategy besides clinical evaluation and psychotherapy.It is known that inflammation is present in a majority of ASD children, and blood inflammatory markers, together with metabolic, electrophysiological markers and imagistics are useful for ASD diagnostic validation and treatment; however, they tend to leave out a sizeable proportion of ASD kids who do not have such modifications. Genetic testing – whole exome sequencing or targeted profiling on about 500 ASD-linked genes- may also provide good insight into pathophysiology, however many times its results are more restrictive rather than offering additional therapeutic options.Here we describe a new biomarker for ASD - the neuron-specific enolase (NSE) - which was elevated above the normal clinical range (less than 16.3 ng/mL) in the vast majority of ASD kids tested in our study (40 of 41, or 97.5%). This finding opens up a new direction for diagnostic confirmation, dynamic evaluation and therapeutic intervention for ASD kids.