Next Article in Journal
Dietary Sources of Fructose and Its Association with Fatty Liver in Mexican Young Adults
Previous Article in Journal
The Effect of Glycomacropeptide versus Amino Acids on Phenylalanine and Tyrosine Variability over 24 Hours in Children with PKU: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Previous Article in Special Issue
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with and without Mental Regression Is Associated with Changes in the Fecal Microbiota
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 521;

Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Gut Microbiota

Pediatric Clinic, Department of Surgical and Biomedical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Perugia, 06132 Perugia, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 25 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism and Nutrition Proposal)
Full-Text   |   PDF [331 KB, uploaded 28 February 2019]   |  
  |   Review Reports


In recent years, there has been an emerging interest in the possible role of the gut microbiota as a co-factor in the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), as many studies have highlighted the bidirectional communication between the gut and brain (the so-called “gut-brain axis”). Accumulating evidence has shown a link between alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota and both gastrointestinal and neurobehavioural symptoms in children with ASD. The aim of this narrative review was to analyse the current knowledge about dysbiosis and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in ASD and assess the current evidence for the role of probiotics and other non-pharmacological approaches in the treatment of children with ASD. Analysis of the literature showed that gut dysbiosis in ASD has been widely demonstrated; however, there is no single distinctive profile of the composition of the microbiota in people with ASD. Gut dysbiosis could contribute to the low-grade systemic inflammatory state reported in patients with GI comorbidities. The administration of probiotics (mostly a mixture of Bifidobacteria, Streptococci and Lactobacilli) is the most promising treatment for neurobehavioural symptoms and bowel dysfunction, but clinical trials are still limited and heterogeneous. Well-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials are required to validate the effectiveness of probiotics in the treatment of ASD and to identify the appropriate strains, dose, and timing of treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; brain; gut microbiota; microbiota transfer therapy; probiotic Autism spectrum disorder; brain; gut microbiota; microbiota transfer therapy; probiotic

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Fattorusso, A.; Di Genova, L.; Dell’Isola, G.B.; Mencaroni, E.; Esposito, S. Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Gut Microbiota. Nutrients 2019, 11, 521.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Nutrients EISSN 2072-6643 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top