Probiotics, Microbiota, and Immunity:

Therapy and Biomarkers of Social Behavior in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Elisabetta Volpe, PhD
Santa Lucia Foundation – Molecular Neuroimmunology Unit

This study aims to test the potential benefit of Lactobacillus Reuteri MM4-1A in social behavior of children diagnosed with ASD.

The project arises from recent studies in murine models demonstrating the benefits of the specific strain L. Reuteri MM4-1A in reducing behavioral symptoms of autism.

We hypothesized that L. Reuteri MM4-1A may also favor social behaviors of autistic children. Moreover, we hypothesized that this specific probiotic improves social behavior by modifying gut microbiota composition and consequent immune response to gut microorganisms.

For this reason, we plan to perform:

1) neuropsychiatric evaluation,

2) immunological analysis from blood samples,

3) microbiological analysis from stool, before supplementation with probiotic/placebo (time 0), and after six months of therapy.

From these analyses we will understand whether probiotic treatment is effective, and the involvement of immune system and microbiota in delineate the social behavior of children diagnosed with ASD.

Supplementation with L. Reuteri is non-invasive and no toxic therapy, and could be a treatment that significantly ameliorates the life of a person with autistic spectrum disorder.

Moreover, the understanding of the role exerted by microbiota and immune system in social behavior, will be useful for for designing future therapeutic strategies aimed to implement the effect of L. Reuteri MM41-A.


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