Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3771-3800; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083771
Review

Thimerosal Exposure and the Role of Sulfation Chemistry and Thiol Availability in Autism

1 Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc., Silver Spring, MD 20905, USA 2 Department of Chemistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA 3 CoMeD, Inc., Silver Spring, MD 20905, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 May 2013; in revised form: 10 July 2013 / Accepted: 11 July 2013 / Published: 20 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health Risk Assessment)
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Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder in which a significant number of the children experience a developmental regression characterized by a loss of previously acquired skills and abilities. Typically reported are losses of verbal, nonverbal, and social abilities. Several recent studies suggest that children diagnosed with an ASD have abnormal sulfation chemistry, limited thiol availability, and decreased glutathione (GSH) reserve capacity, resulting in a compromised oxidation/reduction (redox) and detoxification capacity. Research indicates that the availability of thiols, particularly GSH, can influence the effects of thimerosal (TM) and other mercury (Hg) compounds. TM is an organomercurial compound (49.55% Hg by weight) that has been, and continues to be, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, particularly in developing countries. Thiol-modulating mechanisms affecting the cytotoxicity of TM have been identified. Importantly, the emergence of ASD symptoms post-6 months of age temporally follows the administration of many childhood vaccines. The purpose of the present critical review is provide mechanistic insight regarding how limited thiol availability, abnormal sulfation chemistry, and decreased GSH reserve capacity in children with an ASD could make them more susceptible to the toxic effects of TM routinely administered as part of mandated childhood immunization schedules.
Keywords: thimerosal; susceptibility; sulfation; thiols; autism

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kern, J.K.; Haley, B.E.; Geier, D.A.; Sykes, L.K.; King, P.G.; Geier, M.R. Thimerosal Exposure and the Role of Sulfation Chemistry and Thiol Availability in Autism. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 3771-3800.

AMA Style

Kern JK, Haley BE, Geier DA, Sykes LK, King PG, Geier MR. Thimerosal Exposure and the Role of Sulfation Chemistry and Thiol Availability in Autism. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(8):3771-3800.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kern, Janet K.; Haley, Boyd E.; Geier, David A.; Sykes, Lisa K.; King, Paul G.; Geier, Mark R. 2013. "Thimerosal Exposure and the Role of Sulfation Chemistry and Thiol Availability in Autism." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 8: 3771-3800.

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