Adipose tissue development and autism spectrum disorder


  • An ‘adipo-brain’ axis may play a role in the underlying pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with decreased levels of circulating fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) as a potential early stage ‘adipo-brain’ biomarker.

Why this matters

  • Abnormalities in lipid metabolism during early development, such as changes in adipokine levels, are shown to be associated with ASD; however, there are few studies exploring the involvement of specific adipokines in pathophysiological mechanisms.

  • ASD is associated with significant impairments in lifetime social and cognitive functioning, and with prevalence steadily increasing; early diagnosis and intervention, supported by valid disease markers, are vital for its effective management, and long-term patient outcomes.