1Department of Experimental Medicine, Division of Pharmacology, Second University of Naples, via S. Maria di Costantinopoli, 16 - 80138 Napoli, Italy
2Centre for Autism, La Forza del Silenzio, Caserta, Italy
Dario Siniscalco, ChemD, PhD.
Department of Experimental
Division of Pharmacology
Second University of Naples
via S. Maria di
16 - 80138 Napoli,
Italy Tel: +39 (0)81 5665880 Fax: +39 (0)81 5667503 E-mail: email@example.com
Received July 20, 2012; Accepted July 21, 2012; Published July 23, 2012
Citation: Siniscalco D (2012) Stem Cell Research: An Opportunity for Autism
Spectrum Disorders Treatment. Autism 2:e106. doi:10.4172/2165-7890.1000e106
Prevalence rate of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is fast
increasing . ASDs pathophysiology and defined mechanisms of
their pathogenesis remain still unclear, rendering curative therapy very
difficult. Current therapy for ASDs can be divided into behavioural,
nutritional and medical approaches, however no defined standard
approach exists . In addition, pharmacological treatments are
direct versus much dysfunctional behaviour, without affecting all core
symptoms of ASDs . Given that, further research is needed to define
appropriate interventions for ASD patients .
Stem cell therapy represents the great real promise for the future
of molecular and regenerative medicine. Indeed, a valid approach for
curing several untreatable human diseases is offering from the use of
several types of stem cells .
The epigenetic, neuroimmunological, and environmental studies
on ASDs indicate that stem cell therapy could be a potent treatment
for autistic syndromes, opening a new era in autism management [6,7].
In proof of principle, self-renewal ability with the capacity to generate
more identical stem cells, the capacity to give rise to more differentiated
cells, and the paracrine regulatory functions are stem cell properties
that make them potential therapeutic agents for ASDs.
How stem cell could work in ASDs requires further investigations.
Beneficial effects of stem cells could not be only restricted to cell
restoration, but also paracrine and, above all, immunomodulatory
effects may represent the possible mechanisms of action of stem cells
in ASD pathology . Indeed, the extraordinary characteristics of stem
cells are: i) strong immunosuppressive activity that renders them a useful
tool for successful autologous, as well as heterologous, transplantations
without requiring pharmacological immunosuppression ; ii)
paracrine actions . Stem cells have the capability to produce a
huge array of trophic and growth factors . Through this natural
paracrine activity, stem cells are able to produce molecules that activate
endogenous restorative mechanisms within injured tissues contributing
to recovery of function lost .
It is noteworthy that, due to the particular immune and neural
system dysregulations observed in ASDs , stem cell therapy could
offer extraordinary potential as a treatment modality.
Understanding the molecular, biochemical and cellular basis of
ASDs could offer a unique advantage for the use of stem cell in these
disorders, focalizing the real needs of every patient.
New perspectives for ASDs therapy is provided by stem cells.
However, further deep and exhaustive investigations on stem cell
biology will be needed before stem cell therapies can become a
successful reality for ASDs. In addition, exact stem cell dose, times and
sites of injections, as well as eventual side effects and long term safety,
need further characterization. Future researches will drive their goal
toward this direction .
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