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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(9), 4261-4273; doi:10.3390/ijerph10094261

Epigenetic Findings in Autism: New Perspectives for Therapy

1,2,3,* , 4
1 Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples; via S. Maria di Costantinopoli, Napoli 16-80138, Italy 2 Centre for Autism—La Forza del Silenzio, Caserta 81036, Italy 3 Cancellautismo—Non-Profit Association for Autism Care, Florence 50132, Italy 4 Institute of Protein Biochemistry, National Research Council of Italy,Naples 80128, Italy 5 International Child Development Resource Center, Chateau Elan 30517, USA 6 Biomedical Centre for Autism Research and Treatment, Bari 70126, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 June 2013 / Revised: 14 August 2013 / Accepted: 6 September 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Environment Risk of Autism)
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Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by dysfunctions in social interactions, communications, restricted interests, and repetitive stereotypic behaviors. Despite extensive genetic and biological research, significant controversy surrounds our understanding of the specific mechanisms of their pathogenesis. However, accumulating evidence points to the involvement of epigenetic modifications as foundational in creating ASD pathophysiology. Epigenetic modifications or the alteration of DNA transcription via variations in DNA methylation and histone modifications but without alterations in the DNA sequence, affect gene regulation. These alterations in gene expression, obtained through DNA methylation and/or histone modifications, result from transcriptional regulatory influences of environmental factors, such as nutritional deficiencies, various toxicants, immunological effects, and pharmaceuticals. As such these effects are epigenetic regulators which determine the final biochemistry and physiology of the individual. In contrast to psychopharmacological interventions, bettering our understanding of how these gene-environmental interactions create autistic symptoms should facilitate the development of therapeutic targeting of gene expression for ASD biomedical care.
Keywords: autism; gene expression; environmental factors autism; gene expression; environmental factors
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Siniscalco, D.; Cirillo, A.; Bradstreet, J.J.; Antonucci, N. Epigenetic Findings in Autism: New Perspectives for Therapy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 4261-4273.

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