Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurodevelopmental conditions with symptoms manifesting before the age of 3, generally persisting throughout life and affecting social development and communication. Here, we have investigated changes in protein biomarkers in blood during childhood and adolescent development. Methods. We carried out a multiplex immunoassay profiling analysis of serum samples from 37 individuals with a diagnosis of ASD and their matched, non-affected siblings, aged between 4 and 18 years, to identify molecular pathways affected over the course of ASDs. Results: This analysis revealed age-dependent differences in the levels of 12 proteins involved in inflammation, growth and hormonal signaling. Conclusions: These deviations in age-related molecular trajectories provide further insight into the progression and pathophysiology of the disorder and, if replicated, may contribute to better classification of ASD individuals, as well as to improved treatment and prognosis. The results also underline the importance of stratifying and analyzing samples by age, especially in ASD and potentially other developmental disorders.

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Molecular Autism
Department of Neuroscience

Ramsey, J., Guest, P., Broek, J. A., Glennon, J. C., Rommelse, N., Franke, B., … Bahn, S. (2013). Identification of an age-dependent biomarker signature in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Molecular Autism, 4(1). doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-27