Research Topic

Antioxidants in Autism Spectrum Disorders

About this Research Topic

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders defined by a pattern of persistent impairments in social communication across several contexts, together with distinctive behaviors. Notable behaviors can be repetitive or stereotyped and occasionally include self-injury, and idiosyncratic responses to change. The prevalence of these disorders varies from 1% to 1.5% amongst the general population. An early diagnosis of ASD can have a positive impact on children’s developmental outcome. However, many of these children experience diagnostic delays and the average diagnostic age ranges between 38 and 120 months. So, these disorders benefit from early intervention but currently suffer from late detection and diagnosis.

Known mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of ASD include oxidative stress and inflammation. Moreover, some recent studies reported a reduction of endogenous antioxidant enzymes and increased oxidative stress biomarkers in autistic subjects compared to controls, suggesting a key role of oxidative stress in ASD patients. So, the use of compounds with antioxidant properties could become an important therapeutic tool to minimize or prevent the changes caused by free radical damage in the disease pathophysiology. Importantly, the use of these compounds could be developed as new prevention or treatment strategies for ASD without side effects. For example, the presence of antioxidants molecules in dietary interventions, such as the Mediterranean diets or other diets rich in eating fruits and vegetables, could underpin the beneficial effect of these diets on health. Although human interventional studies are scarce there are some data regarding the neuroprotective effects of these diets/compounds in in vitro and animal model studies. There is also a lack of knowledge regarding the bioavailability of chemical forms present in food that needs to be addressed. Nevertheless, observational epidemiological cohort studies and experimental research have provided preliminary evidence corroborating beneficial effects.

Due to the fact that extensive evidence suggests that increased oxidative stress plays a key role in ASD children’s developmental course and that natural compounds could act as antioxidants, the goal of this Research Topic is to examine the potential protective/therapeutic effect of antioxidant treatment in ASD. Our aim is to shed light on new approaches and data from basic research, as well as highlight clinical and intervention studies in neuroscience, biology, morphology, anatomy and psychology. We welcome all types of manuscripts and strongly encourage submissions addressing the following:

• Involvement of oxidative stress in ASD development/treatment.
• Effects of antioxidants use in ASD symptoms and distinctive behaviors.
• Effects of antioxidants use in prevention of the development of ASD.
• Potential effect of a diet rich in antioxidants in ASD as therapeutically tool.
• Oxidative stress, sleep disturbance and ASD.
• Antioxidants, nutrients and ASD.
• Antioxidant defence mechanisms in ASD.


Keywords: autism, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, Antioxidants


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders defined by a pattern of persistent impairments in social communication across several contexts, together with distinctive behaviors. Notable behaviors can be repetitive or stereotyped and occasionally include self-injury, and idiosyncratic responses to change. The prevalence of these disorders varies from 1% to 1.5% amongst the general population. An early diagnosis of ASD can have a positive impact on children’s developmental outcome. However, many of these children experience diagnostic delays and the average diagnostic age ranges between 38 and 120 months. So, these disorders benefit from early intervention but currently suffer from late detection and diagnosis.

Known mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of ASD include oxidative stress and inflammation. Moreover, some recent studies reported a reduction of endogenous antioxidant enzymes and increased oxidative stress biomarkers in autistic subjects compared to controls, suggesting a key role of oxidative stress in ASD patients. So, the use of compounds with antioxidant properties could become an important therapeutic tool to minimize or prevent the changes caused by free radical damage in the disease pathophysiology. Importantly, the use of these compounds could be developed as new prevention or treatment strategies for ASD without side effects. For example, the presence of antioxidants molecules in dietary interventions, such as the Mediterranean diets or other diets rich in eating fruits and vegetables, could underpin the beneficial effect of these diets on health. Although human interventional studies are scarce there are some data regarding the neuroprotective effects of these diets/compounds in in vitro and animal model studies. There is also a lack of knowledge regarding the bioavailability of chemical forms present in food that needs to be addressed. Nevertheless, observational epidemiological cohort studies and experimental research have provided preliminary evidence corroborating beneficial effects.

Due to the fact that extensive evidence suggests that increased oxidative stress plays a key role in ASD children’s developmental course and that natural compounds could act as antioxidants, the goal of this Research Topic is to examine the potential protective/therapeutic effect of antioxidant treatment in ASD. Our aim is to shed light on new approaches and data from basic research, as well as highlight clinical and intervention studies in neuroscience, biology, morphology, anatomy and psychology. We welcome all types of manuscripts and strongly encourage submissions addressing the following:

• Involvement of oxidative stress in ASD development/treatment.
• Effects of antioxidants use in ASD symptoms and distinctive behaviors.
• Effects of antioxidants use in prevention of the development of ASD.
• Potential effect of a diet rich in antioxidants in ASD as therapeutically tool.
• Oxidative stress, sleep disturbance and ASD.
• Antioxidants, nutrients and ASD.
• Antioxidant defence mechanisms in ASD.


Keywords: autism, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, Antioxidants


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

18 February 2021 Manuscript
31 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

18 February 2021 Manuscript
31 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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