ARPHA Preprints, doi: 10.3897/arphapreprints.e91188
Persistent Inflammation Initiated by TORCH Infections and Dysbiotic Microbiome in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Prospect for Future Interventions
expand article infoKenneth Alibek§, Luiza Niyazmetova|, Sean Farmer, Terence Isakov
‡ Locus Fermentation Solutions, Solon, OH, United States of America§ FLAASK, LLC, Solon, OH, United States of America| FLAASK, LLC, Solon, United States of America¶ Cleveland Clinic, Lyndhurst, OH, United States of America
Open Access

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a range of neurodevelopmental conditions that are clinically present early in childhood with the symptoms of social withdrawal and repetitive behavior. Despite an extensive research on ASD, no commonly accepted theory on the disease etiology exists. Hence, we reviewed several scientific publications, including reviews, preclinical and clinical investigations, and published hypotheses to analyze various opinions on the nature and cause of the disorder. Many studies suggest that infections and inflammation during pregnancy play a significant role in genetic and epigenetic changes in the developing fetus, resulting in an autistic phenotype in a child. Still, there is a lack of comprehensive literature about the multitude of autism inducing factors. Therefore, this article reviews and discusses available scientific evidence on the roles of viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, overactivation of the immune system, and intestinal microflora in the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of ASD. The overview of the scientific publications, including our own studies, suggests that TORCH infections, imbalanced microbiome, and persistent inflammation are significantly associated with the disruption of the social domain in ASD children. The ASD-related changes begin prenatally as maternal-to-fetal immune activation triggered by infection. It results in continuous low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress in a fetus, causing germline and somatic genetic changes in the developing brain and the establishment of the dysregulated immune system. These changes and dysregulations result in central  and peripheral nervous systems dysfunctions as well as other comorbid conditions found in autistic children.

Autism spectrum disorder; inflammation; TORCH infections; microbiome; wall-free pathogens