Extracerebral dysfunction in animal models of autism spectrum disorder

Elisa L. Hill-Yardin, Sonja J. McKeown, Gaia Novarino, Andreas M. Grabrucker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic factors might be largely responsible for the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that alone or in combination with specific environmental risk factors trigger the pathology. Multiple mutations identified in ASD patients that impair synaptic function in the central nervous system are well studied in animal models. How these mutations might interact with other risk factors is not fully understood though. Additionally, how systems outside of the brain are altered in the context of ASD is an emerging area of research. Extracerebral influences on the physiology could begin in utero and contribute to changes in the brain and in the development of other body systems and further lead to epigenetic changes. Therefore, multiple recent studies have aimed at elucidating the role of gene-environment interactions in ASD. Here we provide an overview on the extracerebral systems that might play an important associative role in ASD and review evidence regarding the potential roles of inflammation, trace metals, metabolism, genetic susceptibility, enteric nervous system function and the microbiota of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract on the development of endophenotypes in animal models of ASD. By influencing environmental conditions, it might be possible to reduce or limit the severity of ASD pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslational Anatomy and Cell Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorder
EditorsMichael J. Schmeisser, Tobias M. Boeckers
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9783319524986
ISBN (Print)9783319524962
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameAdvances in Anatomy Embryology and Cell Biology
ISSN (Print)03015556

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