Prenatal factors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Ornoy, A., Weinstein-Fudim, L., Ergaz, Z.
Reproductive Toxicology 2015; 56: 155-169
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affecting about 1% of all children is associated, in addition to complex genetic factors, with a variety of prenatal, perinatal and postnatal etiologies. We discuss the known associated prenatal factors affecting the fetus throughout pregnancy; whenever relevant, also summarize some animal data. Among the maternal diseases in pregnancy associated with ASD are pregestational and/or gestational diabetes mellitus (PGDM, GDM), maternal infections (i.e. rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV)), prolonged fever and maternal inflammation, which cause changes in a variety of inflammatory cytokines. Among the drugs are valproic acid, thalidomide, and possibly misoprostol and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Associations were described with ethanol, and possibly cocaine, heavy metals heavy smoking and Folic acid deficiency. Heavy exposure to pesticides and air pollution during pregnancy was recently associated with ASD. We need more epidemiologic data to establish many of these associations; if proven, they might be promising avenues for prevention. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved