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Autism Res. 2015 Jun;8(3):338-50. doi: 10.1002/aur.1450. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

A Pilot Proteomic Analysis of Salivary Biomarkers in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science, Biochemistry and Proteomics Group, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Avenue, Potsdam, New York, 13699-5810.
SUNY Plattsburgh Neuropsychology Clinic and Psychoeducation Services, 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, New York, 12901.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prevalence is increasing, with current estimates at 1/68-1/50 individuals diagnosed with an ASD. Diagnosis is based on behavioral assessments. Early diagnosis and intervention is known to greatly improve functional outcomes in people with ASD. Diagnosis, treatment monitoring and prognosis of ASD symptoms could be facilitated with biomarkers to complement behavioral assessments. Mass spectrometry (MS) based proteomics may help reveal biomarkers for ASD. In this pilot study, we have analyzed the salivary proteome in individuals with ASD compared to neurotypical control subjects, using MS-based proteomics. Our goal is to optimize methods for salivary proteomic biomarker discovery and to identify initial putative biomarkers in people with ASDs. The salivary proteome is virtually unstudied in ASD, and saliva could provide an easily accessible biomaterial for analysis. Using nano liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, we found statistically significant differences in several salivary proteins, including elevated prolactin-inducible protein, lactotransferrin, Ig kappa chain C region, Ig gamma-1 chain C region, Ig lambda-2 chain C regions, neutrophil elastase, polymeric immunoglobulin receptor and deleted in malignant brain tumors 1. Our results indicate that this is an effective method for identification of salivary protein biomarkers, support the concept that immune system and gastrointestinal disturbances may be present in individuals with ASDs and point toward the need for larger studies in behaviorally-characterized individuals.


ASD; biomarker signature; diagnosis; early detection; proteomics

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