Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3384-3408; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083384
Review

The Dynamics of Autism Spectrum Disorders: How Neurotoxic Compounds and Neurotransmitters Interact

Health and Life Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, De Boelelaan 1085 T-634, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2013; in revised form: 23 July 2013 / Accepted: 23 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Environment Risk of Autism)
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Abstract: In recent years concern has risen about the increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Accumulating evidence shows that exposure to neurotoxic compounds is related to ASD. Neurotransmitters might play a key role, as research has indicated a connection between neurotoxic compounds, neurotransmitters and ASD. In the current review a literature overview with respect to neurotoxic exposure and the effects on neurotransmitter systems is presented. The aim was to identify mechanisms and related factors which together might result in ASD. The literature reported in the current review supports the hypothesis that exposure to neurotoxic compounds can lead to alterations in the GABAergic, glutamatergic, serotonergic and dopaminergic system which have been related to ASD in previous work. However, in several studies findings were reported that are not supportive of this hypothesis. Other factors also might be related, possibly altering the mechanisms at work, such as time and length of exposure as well as dose of the compound. Future research should focus on identifying the pathway through which these factors interact with exposure to neurotoxic compounds making use of human studies.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; ASD; neurotoxic exposure; organochlorine; organophosphate; phthalate; neurotransmitter; GABA; glutamate; serotonin; dopamine

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MDPI and ACS Style

Quaak, I.; Brouns, M.R.; Van de Bor, M. The Dynamics of Autism Spectrum Disorders: How Neurotoxic Compounds and Neurotransmitters Interact. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3384-3408.

AMA Style

Quaak I, Brouns MR, Van de Bor M. The Dynamics of Autism Spectrum Disorders: How Neurotoxic Compounds and Neurotransmitters Interact. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(8):3384-3408.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Quaak, Ilona; Brouns, Madeleine R.; Van de Bor, Margot. 2013. "The Dynamics of Autism Spectrum Disorders: How Neurotoxic Compounds and Neurotransmitters Interact." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 8: 3384-3408.

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