Role of environmental factors and epigenetics in autism spectrum disorders Chapter uri icon

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abstract

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder thought to be caused by predisposing high-risk genes that may be altered during the early development by environmental factors. The impact of maternal challenges during pregnancy on the prevalence of ASD has been widely studied in clinical and animal studies. Here, we review some clinical and pre-clinical evidence that links environmental factors (i.e., infection, air pollution, pesticides, valproic acid and folic acid) and the risk of ASD. Additionally, certain prenatal environmental challenges such as the valproate and folate prenatal exposures allow us to study mechanisms possibly linked to the etiology of ASD, for instance the epigenetic processes. These mechanistic pathways are also presented and discussed in this chapter.

publication date

  • 2020