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Common Genetic Variants Link the Abnormalities in the Gut-Brain Axis in Prematurity and Autism.

Cerebellum. 2018 Aug 14;:

Authors: Sajdel-Sulkowska EM, Makowska-Zubrycka M, Czarzasta K, Kasarello K, Aggarwal V, Bialy M, Szczepanska-Sadowska E, Cudnoch-Jedrzejewska A

This review considers a link between prematurity and autism by comparing symptoms, physiological abnormalities, and behavior. It focuses on the bidirectional signaling between the microbiota and the brain, here defined as the microbiota-gut-vagus-heart-brain (MGVHB) axis and its systemic disruption accompanying altered neurodevelopment. Data derived from clinical and animal studies document increased prevalence of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms in both premature and autistic children and suggest an incomplete maturation of the gut-blood barrier resulting in a “leaky gut,” dysbiosis, abnormalities in vagal regulation of the heart, altered development of specific brain regions, and behavior. Furthermore, this review posits the hypothesis that common genetic variants link the abnormalities in the MGVHB axis in premature and autistic pathologies. This hypothesis is based on the recently identified common genetic variants: early B cell factor 1 (EBF1), selenocysteine tRNA-specific eukaryotic elongation factor (EEFSEC), and angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AGTR2), in the maternal and infant DNA samples, associated with risk of preterm birth and independently implicated in a risk of autism. We predict that the AGTR2 variants involved in the brain maturation and oxytocin-arginine-vasopressin (OXT-AVP) pathways, related to social behavior, will contribute to our understanding of the link between prematurity and autism paving a way to new therapies.

PMID: 30109601 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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