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Lipid mediators in plasma of autism spectrum disorders

Afaf El-Ansary134* and Laila Al-Ayadhi234

Author Affiliations

1 Biochemistry Department, Science College, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

3 Autism Research and Treatment Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

4 Shaik AL-Amodi Autism Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:160  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-160

Published: 21 November 2012



Inflammation is increasingly recognized as being of both physiological and pathological importance in the immature brain. Cerebellar pathology occurs in autism, as a neurodevelopmental disorder with genetic and environmental origins. The genesis of this disorder is still not understood but inflammation in utero or early in childhood is an environmental risk factor.


Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), cysteinyl leukotriene as two important lipid mediators together with 8 isoprostane as marker of oxidative stress were measured using ELISA in plasma of 20 male autistic patients compared to 19 age and gender matching control participants.


PGE2, leukotrienes and isoprostanes recorded significantly elevated levels in autistics compared to controls. Role of these measured parameters in inflammation and autoimmunity as two etiological factors in autism were discussed in details.


Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis shows satisfactory values of area under the curve (AUC) which could reflect the high degree of specificity and sensitivity of the altered PGE2, leukotrienes and isoprostanes as predictive biomarkers in autistic patients from Saudi Arabia.

Autism; Inflammation; Prostaglandins; Leukotrienes; Isoprostane; Arachidonic acid