Pharmacological, non-pharmacological and stem cell therapies for the management of autism spectrum disorders: A focus on human studies.
Pharmacol Res. 2020 Feb ;152:104579. Epub 2019 Nov 30. PMID: 31790820
In the last decade, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has dramatically escalated worldwide. Currently available drugs mainly target some co-occurring symptoms of ASD, but are not effective on the core symptoms, namely impairments in communication and social interaction, and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors. On the other hand, transplantation of hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells in ASD children has been shown promising to stimulate the recruitment, proliferation, and differentiation of tissue-residing native stem cells, reducing inflammation, and improving some ASD symptoms. Moreover, several comorbidities have also been associated with ASD, such as immune dysregulation, gastrointestinal issues and gut microbiota dysbiosis. Non-pharmacological approaches, such as dietary supplementations with certain vitamins, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, probiotics, some phytochemicals (e.g., luteolin and sulforaphane), or overall diet interventions (e.g., gluten free and casein free diets) have been considered for the reduction of such comorbidities and the management of ASD. Here, interventional studies describing pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments in ASD children and adolescents, along with stem cell-based therapies, are reviewed.