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Eur J Pharmacol. 2011 Sep;668 Suppl 1:S70-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.07.013. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Pathways underlying the gut-to-brain connection in autism spectrum disorders as future targets for disease management.

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Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are pervasive neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication and the presence of limited, repetitive and stereotyped interests and behavior. Bowel symptoms are frequently reported in children with ASD and a potential role for gastrointestinal disturbances in ASD has been suggested. This review focuses on the importance of (allergic) gastrointestinal problems in ASD. We provide an overview of the possible gut-to-brain pathways and discuss opportunities for pharmaceutical and/or nutritional approaches for therapy.

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