Role of Brain Modulators in Neurodevelopment: Focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Associated Comorbidities

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and associated neurodevelopmental disorders share similar pathogenesis and clinical features. Pathophysiological changes in these diseases are rooted in early neuronal stem cells in the uterus. Several genetic and environmental factors potentially perturb neurogenesis and synaptogenesis processes causing incomplete or altered maturation of the brain that precedes the symptomology later in life. In this review, the impact of several endogenous neuromodulators and pharmacological agents on the foetus during pregnancy, manifested on numerous aspects of neurodevelopment is discussed. Within this context, some possible insults that may alter these modulators and therefore alter their role in neurodevelopment are high-lighted. Sometimes, a particular insult could influence several neuromodulator systems as is supported by recent research in the field of ASD and associated disorders. Dopaminergic hy-pothesis prevailed on the table for discussion of the pathogenesis of schizophrenia (SCH), atten-tion-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and ASD for a long time. However, recent cumulative evidence suggests otherwise. Indeed, the neuromodulators that are dysregulated in ASD and comorbid disorders are as diverse as the causes and symptoms of this disease. Additionally, these neuromodulators have roles in brain development, further complicating their involvement in comorbidity. This review will survey the current understanding of the neuromodulating systems to serve the pharmacological field during pregnancy and to minimize drug-related insults in pa-tients with ASD and associated comorbidity disorders, e.g., SCH or ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number612
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • brain development
  • endogenous neuromodulators
  • neuroinflammation
  • pharmacological agents in-utero exposure
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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