The neurobiology of autism spectrum disorders

M. Parellada*, M. J. Penzol, L. Pina, C. Moreno, E. González-Vioque, G. Zalsman, C. Arango

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Data is progressively and robustly accumulating regarding the biological basis of autism. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are currently considered a group of neurodevelopmental disorders with onset very early in life and a complex, heterogeneous, multifactorial aetiology. A comprehensive search of the last five years of the Medline database was conducted in order to summarize recent evidence on the neurobiological bases of autism. The main findings on genetic influence, neuropathology, neurostructure and brain networks are summarized. In addition, findings from peripheral samples of subjects with autism and animal models, which show immune, oxidative, mitochondrial dysregulations, are reported. Then, other biomarkers from very different systems associated with autism are reported. Finally, an attempt is made to try and integrate the available evidence, which points to a oligogenetic, multifactorial aetiology that converges in an aberrant micro-organization of the cortex, with abnormal functioning of the synapses and abnormalities in very general physiological pathways (such as inflammatory, immune and redox systems).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neuroscience


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