Nutrients, Vol. 14, Pages 65: Autonomic Nervous System Neuroanatomical Alterations Could Provoke and Maintain Gastrointestinal Dysbiosis in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Novel Microbiome–Host Interaction Mechanistic Hypothesis
Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu14010065
Dysbiosis secondary to environmental factors, including dietary patterns, antibiotics use, pollution exposure, and other lifestyle factors, has been associated to many non-infective chronic inflammatory diseases. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is related to maternal inflammation, although there is no conclusive evidence that affected individuals suffer from systemic low-grade inflammation as in many psychological and psychiatric diseases. However, neuro-inflammation and neuro&ndash;immune abnormalities are observed within ASD-affected individuals. Rebalancing human gut microbiota to treat disease has been widely investigated with inconclusive and contradictory findings. These observations strongly suggest that the forms of dysbiosis encountered in ASD-affected individuals could also originate from autonomic nervous system (ANS) functioning abnormalities, a common neuro&ndash;anatomical alteration underlying ASD. According to this hypothesis, overactivation of the sympathetic branch of the ANS, due to the fact of an ASD-specific parasympathetic activity deficit, induces deregulation of the gut&ndash;brain axis, attenuating intestinal immune and osmotic homeostasis. This sets-up a dysbiotic state, that gives rise to immune and osmotic dysregulation, maintaining dysbiosis in a vicious cycle. Here, we explore the mechanisms whereby ANS imbalances could lead to alterations in intestinal microbiome&ndash;host interactions that may contribute to the severity of ASD by maintaining the brain&ndash;gut axis pathways in a dysregulated state.
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