Altered Global mRNA Expressions of Pain and Aggression Related Genes in the Blood of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Elif Funda Sener
  • Serpil Taheri
  • Mustafa Caglar Sahin
  • Keziban Korkmaz Bayramov
  • Mert Kahraman Marasli
  • Gokmen Zararsiz
  • Ecmel Mehmetbeyoglu
  • Didem Behice Oztop
  • Mehmet Canpolat
  • Halit Canatan
  • Yusuf Ozkul


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by repetitive stereotypic behaviors, restricted interests, social withdrawal, and communication deficits. Aggression and insensitivity to pain are largely unexplained in these cases. We analyzed nine mRNA expressions of the candidate genes related to aggression and insensitivity to pain in the peripheral blood of patients with ASD. Whole blood samples were obtained from 40 autistic patients (33 boys, 7 girls) and 50 age- and sex-matched controls (37 boys and 13 girls) to isolate RNA. Gene expression was assessed by quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) in the Erciyes University Genome and Stem Cell Center (GENKOK). All of the gene expressions except CRHR1 and SLC6A4 were found to be statistically different between the ASD patients and controls. Gene expression also differed according to gender. Alterations in the mRNA expression patterns of the HTR1E, OPRL1, OPRM1, TACR1, PRKG1, SCN9A and DRD4 genes provide further evidence for a relevant effect of the respective candidate genes on the pathophysiology of ASD. Future studies may determine the sensitivity of these candidate markers in larger samples including further neuropsychiatric diagnosis.


Autism spectrum disorders Gene expression Aggression Insensitivity to pain 



This study has been supported by a grant (Project Number: 114S742) from The Scientific & Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) of Turkey.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest or other disclosures to report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elif Funda Sener
    • 1
    • 2
  • Serpil Taheri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mustafa Caglar Sahin
    • 3
  • Keziban Korkmaz Bayramov
    • 2
  • Mert Kahraman Marasli
    • 4
  • Gokmen Zararsiz
    • 5
  • Ecmel Mehmetbeyoglu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Didem Behice Oztop
    • 6
  • Mehmet Canpolat
    • 7
  • Halit Canatan
    • 1
  • Yusuf Ozkul
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Medical BiologyErciyes University Medical Faculty KayseriTurkey
  2. 2.Erciyes University Genome and Stem Cell Center (GENKOK)KayseriTurkey
  3. 3.Van Ozalp Education and Research HospitalVanTurkey
  4. 4.Ordu Education and Research HospitalOrduTurkey
  5. 5.Department of BiostatisticsErciyes University Medical Faculty KayseriTurkey
  6. 6.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryAnkara University Medical Faculty AnkaraTurkey
  7. 7. Department of Child NeurologyErciyes University Medical FacultyKayseriTurkey
  8. 8. Department of Medical GeneticsErciyes University Medical FacultyKayseriTurkey

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