Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) include a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders. Several reports showed that mutations in different high-risk ASD genes lead to ASD. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been deciphered. Recently, they reported a dramatic increase in nitric oxide (NO) levels in ASD mouse models. Here, they conducted a multidisciplinary study to investigate the role of NO in ASD. High levels of nitrosative stress biomarkers are found in both the Shank3 and Cntnap2 ASD mouse models. Pharmacological intervention with a neuronal NO synthase (nNOS) inhibitor in both models led to a reversal of the molecular, synaptic, and behavioral ASD-associated phenotypes. Importantly, treating iPSC-derived cortical neurons from patients with SHANK3 mutation with the nNOS inhibitor showed similar therapeutic effects. Clinically, they found a significant increase in nitrosative stress biomarkers in the plasma of low-functioning ASD patients. Bioinformatics of the SNO-proteome revealed that the complement system is enriched in ASD. This novel work reveals, for the first time, that NO plays a significant role in ASD. Their important findings will open novel directions to examine NO in diverse mutations on the spectrum as well as in other neurodevelopmental disorders. Finally, it suggests a novel strategy for effectively treating ASD.
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© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.
- autism spectrum disorder
- contactin-associated protein-like2
- nitric oxide