Aminoglycoside antibiotics and autism: a speculative hypothesisReport as inadecuate

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BMC Psychiatry

, 1:5

First Online: 10 October 2001Received: 16 August 2001Accepted: 10 October 2001


BackgroundRecently, it has been suspected that there is a relationship between therapy with some antibiotics and the onset of autism; but even more curious, some children benefited transiently from a subsequent treatment with a different antibiotic. Here, we speculate how aminoglycoside antibiotics might be associated with autism.

PresentationWe hypothesize that aminoglycoside antibiotics could a trigger the autism syndrome in susceptible infants by causing the stop codon readthrough, i.e., a misreading of the genetic code of a hypothetical critical gene, and-or b improve autism symptoms by correcting the premature stop codon mutation in a hypothetical polymorphic gene linked to autism.

TestingInvestigate, retrospectively, whether a link exists between aminoglycoside use which is not extensive in children and the onset of autism symptoms hypothesis -a-, or between amino glycoside use and improvement of these symptoms hypothesis -b-. Whereas a prospective study to test hypothesis -a- is not ethically justifiable, a study could be designed to test hypothesis -b-.

ImplicationsIt should be stressed that at this stage no direct evidence supports our speculative hypothesis and that its main purpose is to initiate development of new ideas that, eventually, would improve our understanding of the pathobiology of autism.

List of abbreviationsCFcystic fibrosis

CFTRcystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

CNScentral nervous system

IGFinsulin-like growth factor

mRNAmessenger RNA

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Author: Radmila Manev - Hari Manev



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