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ASD: Biochemical Mechanisms behind Behavioral Disorders

Call for Papers

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex neurobiological disorders of development characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, together with restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped interests/behavior. There has been a dramatic increase in the reported rates of ASD over the last 40 years and have risen in USA from 1 in 5000 in the mid-1970s to 1 in 88 in 2012. However, little is known about the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, and there is a lack of biologic markers to help in diagnosis or monitoring changes in clinical definitions over time or in response to therapies. Inflammation has been shown to have a key role in the development and progression of ASDs.

Currently there are few effective treatments for autism with most medication and behavioral therapies aimed at minimizing the symptoms. Although the knowledge base of ASD is rapidly growing as research examines more and varied aspects of these disorders, their complex nature makes it difficult to determine the causation or catalysts. There is probably no singular unique cause for these neurobehavioral disorders, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for pathological changes in brain, immune, and metabolic and endocrine systems.

The proposed objective of this special issue will provide an up-to-date text covering the most recent discoveries in the area of ASD, focusing on a deeper understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms (mainly focused on inflammation) that underlie these disorders. We are interested in articles that explore aspects of the biochemical processes in humans and also in animal models to provide a better understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying the ASD. In addition, we invite researchers to contribute original research articles as well as review articles that will stimulate the ongoing efforts to identify specific biomarkers (such as cytokines, oxidative products, etc.) that may be pertinent to ASD, can be used in diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic clinical settings, and may also provide mechanistic insights. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Role of inflammation/immune dysfunction in ASD
  • The association between redox status imbalance, inflammation, and ASD
  • Novel promising biomarkers for clinical evaluation and measuring outcomes
  • Immune functions alteration in ASD
  • New animal models to understand pathogenetic mechanisms of ASD
  • Elucidating the role of environmental factors in the ASD development and the correlation with inflammatory markers
  • Advances in genetics
  • Modifiable risk factors for the prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Development and testing of novel and effective therapeutic strategies

Before submission authors should carefully read over the journal's Author Guidelines, which are located at Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript through the journal Manuscript Tracking System at according to the following timetable:

Manuscript DueFriday, 11 October 2013
First Round of ReviewsFriday, 3 January 2014
Publication DateFriday, 28 February 2014

Lead Guest Editor

  • Giuseppe Valacchi, Department of Life Science and Biotechnologies, University of Ferrara, Via Borsari 46, 44100 Ferrara, Italy

Guest Editors

  • Paul Ashwood, UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California, 2805 Wet Lab Building, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA