Children who do not get enough zinc in the uterus may be more likely to develop autism, a new study…
Children who do not get enough zinc in the uterus may be more likely to develop autism, a new study claims.
Researchers still do not have a definitive answer for what causes autism, but the vast majority of research shows that it is a combination of “environmental factors” and genetic defects.
In a new paper published today, American and German researchers say they have evidence that zinc levels may be one of the defining environmental factors that sew the seeds of behavioral disturbance.
More research is needed to confirm if it could be a causal link, but the team says they have defined a possible mechanical link.
US and German researchers say they have evidence that zinc levels may be one of the defining environmental factors that sow seeds of autism spectrum disorder.
They found that zinc forms the connections or “synapses” between brain cells formed early development, via a complex molecular arc machine encoded by autism risk genes.
But the precautionary research is in its early stages and the results do not indicate that pregnant women should start taking a zinc supplement to prevent autism.
Senior writer Dr Sally Kim at Stanford University School of Medicine in California said: “Autism is associated with specific variants of genes involved in the formation, maturation and stabilization of synapses in early development.
” Our results link zinc levels in neurons – through interactions with the proteins encoded by these genes – to the development of autism. “
Co-authors Professor Craig Garner from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases added:” Currently there are no controlled studies of autism risk with zinc supplementation in pregnant women or infants, so the jury is still out.
“We really can not make any conclusions or recommendations for zinc supplements at this time, but experimental work in autism models is also published” 19659002 “” Our results still provide a new mechanism for understanding how zinc deficiency or disturbed zinc treatment in neurons – can contribute to autism. “
Zink helps to create new cells and enzymes, processes carbohydrates, fat and protein in food and wound healing.
Milk-rich minerals include meat, seafood, dairy products like cheese, bread and cereals.  NHS said that most people get enough zinc from their diet and should not take more than 25 mg of zinc supplements a day unless recommended by a doctor.
Too much reduces the amount of copper the body can absorb, which can lead to anemia and weakening of the legs.
The study published in the journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience was found when a signal passed rs via a synapse, zinc enters the target neuron where it can bind two such proteins – Shank2 and Shank3.
These proteins, in turn, cause changes in the composition and function (maturation) of adjacent signal receptors, called AMPARs, on the neuron’s surface at synapse.
Experiment showed the mechanism of zinc-Shank-mediated AMPAR maturation in developing synapses.
Lead author Dr Huong Ha in Stanford explained: “In developing neurons, we found that Shank 2 and 3 accumulate at synapses in parallel with an AMPAR switch.
Adds extra zinc accelerated power switch – but not when we reduced the accumulation of Shank 2 or 3.
& # 39; Furthermore, our study mechanically shows how Shank2 and 3 work in concert with zinc to regulate AMPAR maturation, an important development step.
Co-workers Professor John Huguenard, co-author of Stanford, added, in other words, zinc forms the characteristics of developing synapses via Shank proteins.
Prof Huguenard concluded: “This indicates that a lack of zinc during early development may contribute to autism through impaired synaptic Therefore, understanding of interaction between zinc and shank proteins can lead to diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for autism. “