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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 480289, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/480289
Review Article

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Is Mesenchymal Stem Cell Personalized Therapy the Future?

1Division of Pharmacology “L. Donatelli”, Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Via S. Maria di Costantinopoli, 16-80138 Napoli, Italy
2Centre for Autism, La Forza del Silenzio, Caserta, 80138 Naples, Italy
3Department of Internal and Experimental Medicine “Magrassi-Lanzara”, Second University of Naples, 80138 Naples, Italy
4Center for Celiac Research and Mucosal Biology Research Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
5Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology “A. Cascino”, Department of Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, 80138 Naples, Italy
6Biomedical Centre for Autism Research and Treatment, 70122 Bari, Italy

Received 11 July 2011; Accepted 29 September 2011

Academic Editor: Ken-ichi Isobe

Copyright © 2012 Dario Siniscalco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders. They are enigmatic conditions that have their origins in the interaction of genes and environmental factors. ASDs are characterized by dysfunctions in social interaction and communication skills, in addition to repetitive and stereotypic verbal and nonverbal behaviours. Immune dysfunction has been confirmed with autistic children. There are no defined mechanisms of pathogenesis or curative therapy presently available. Indeed, ASDs are still untreatable. Available treatments for autism can be divided into behavioural, nutritional, and medical approaches, although no defined standard approach exists. Nowadays, stem cell therapy represents the great promise for the future of molecular medicine. Among the stem cell population, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) show probably best potential good results in medical research. Due to the particular immune and neural dysregulation observed in ASDs, mesenchymal stem cell transplantation could offer a unique tool to provide better resolution for this disease.