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The role of zinc supplementation on the metallothionein system in children with autism spectrum disorder

  • Nagwa A. Meguid
  • Geir BjørklundEmail author
  • Ola H. Gebril
  • Monica Daniela Doşa
  • Mona Anwar
  • Amal Elsaeid
  • Ahmad Gaber
  • Salvatore Chirumbolo
Original article

Abstract

The present research was carried out to elucidate the role of zinc (Zn) supplementation on the plasma concentration and gene expression, as well as the effects on cognitive-motor performance, in a cohort of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study was performed on a cohort of 30 pediatric subjects with ASD, encompassing an age range of 3–8 years. The impact of Zn supplementation was investigated in 3 months (or 12 weeks) on the ASD children. Each daily dosage of Zn was calculated as being equal to the body weight in kg plus 15–20 mg. The effect of Zn was also evaluated on the serum level of metallothionein 1 (MT-1A), and the severity of autism via scores on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale. The effect of Zn was investigated on the gene expression of MT1-A before and after Zn supplementation. The data of the present study showed an increase in cognitive-motor performance and an increased serum metallothionein concentration, as well as a significant lowering in the circulating serum levels of copper (Cu) following Zn supplementation. In the cohort of ASD patients, the genetic expression of MT-1 was higher after Zn therapy than before the treatment. In conclusion, Zn supplementation might be an important factor in the treatment of children with ASD.

Keywords

Autism Cognitive motor performance Zinc Metallothionine 

Abbreviations

ASD

Autism spectrum disorder

CARS

Childhood Autism Rating Scale

cDNA

Copied DNA

CNS

Central nervous system

Cu

Copper

ELISA

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid

GAPDH

Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase

MT-1A

Metallothionein 1A

PCR

Polymerase chain reaction

TGMD

Test of gross motor development

TMB

Tetramethylbenzidine

Zn

Zinc

Notes

Author contributions

All authors confirmed they have contributed to the intellectual content of this paper and have met the following three requirements: (a) significant contributions to the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (b) drafting or revising the article for intellectual content; and (c) final approval of the published article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee, and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written informed consent obtained from the guardians of all participants.

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Copyright information

© Belgian Neurological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Research on Children with Special NeedsNational Research CentreGizaEgypt
  2. 2.CONEM Egypt Child Brain Research GroupNational Research CenterGizaEgypt
  3. 3.Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (CONEM)Mo I RanaNorway
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of MedicineOvidius UniversityConstanţaRomania
  5. 5.Department of Basic Sciences and Biomechanics, Faculty of Physical TherapyHeliopolis UniversityCairoEgypt
  6. 6.Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement SciencesUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  7. 7.CONEM Scientific SecretaryVeronaItaly

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