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Body fluid levels of neuroactive amino acids in autism spectrum disorders: a review of the literature

Zheng, Hui-Fei, Wang, Wen-Qiang, Li, Xin-Min, Rauw, Gail, Baker, Glen B.
Amino acids 2017 v.49 no.1 pp. 57-65
autism, drug therapy, gamma-aminobutyric acid, gender, glutamic acid, glutamine, monitoring, patients, saliva, serine, taurine, tryptophan
A review of studies on the body fluid levels of neuroactive amino acids, including glutamate, glutamine, taurine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glycine, tryptophan, D-serine, and others, in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is given. The results reported in the literature are generally inconclusive and contradictory, but there has been considerable variation among the previous studies in terms of factors such as age, gender, number of subjects, intelligence quotient, and psychoactive medication being taken. Future studies should include simultaneous analyses of a large number of amino acids [including D-serine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)] and standardization of the factors mentioned above. It may also be appropriate to use saliva sampling to detect amino acids in ASD patients in the future—this is noninvasive testing that can be done easily more frequently than other sampling, thus providing more dynamic monitoring.