Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2018 Aug;16(3):246-252. 10.9758/cpn.2018.16.3.246.

Microglia and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Overview of Current Evidence and Novel Immunomodulatory Treatment Options

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.
  • 2Department of Medicine, Severance Biomedical Science Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.


Autism spectrum disorder is a rapidly increasing heterogeneous neurodevelopmental syndrome, remarked by persistent deficit in social communication, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior and interest. Lately, maternal immune activation and micgroglial dysfunction in the developing brain have been gaining mounting evidence and leading to studies of various novel agents as potential treatment options. A few immunomodulatory treatment options—luteolin, minocycline, suramin, vitamin D, gut microbiota—are discussed in the current article, regarding the current understanding of their mechanisms and evidence for potential clinical use. More studies are warranted to understand their exact mechanisms of action and to verify efficacy and safety in human subjects.


Autism spectrum disorder; Maternal immune activation; Microglia; Immunomodulatory therapy
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