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Neurobiological Basis and Pharmacologic Treatment of Social Impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Understanding of the neurobiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is crucial for developing effective treatments. Comparative developmental studies of socio-emotional behaviors provides an endophenotype relevant to understand the core symptoms of ASD. Social interactions are a fundamental aspect of human and animal behavior. We described a multi-behavior parameter integration method and applied it to female-male interaction of adult common marmosets. The behavior category change positively correlated with serum cortisol and progesterone levels after social interaction. A pharmacologic treatment and the evaluation of its efficacy on ASD patient has led to find its neurobiological and pathophysiological foundation. In this review, we summarize the clinical efficacy of risperidone solution, oxytocin, and dietary supplementation with large doses of arachidonic acid added to osahexaenoic acid for impaired social interaction in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD is characterized by impaired social interaction, socialization, and restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Increases over time in the frequency of these disorders (to present rates of about 1 case per 100 children) might be attributable to factors such as new administrative classifications, and increased awareness, early identification. It is important to note that risperidone solution, intranasal administration of oxytocin, and dietary supplementation with large doses of arachidonic acid added to osahexaenoic acid have been reported to improve impaired social interaction. In addition, atypical antipsychotics aripiprazole and SSRI fluoxetine were useful in treating some aspects of social relatedness or the core deficits of communication and socialization. Administration of the anti-androgenic medication leuprolide acetate significantly helped to ameliorate clinical symptoms/behaviors of hyperandrogenemia in some subjects with ASD. The evaluation of treatments for ASD should be directed at neurobiological targets known to be important in the brain's response to abnormal developmental trajectories or toward enhancing plasticity during the highly sensitive period in gene-environment interaction (epigenetic mechanism). Further knowledge of neurobiology and effective treatments for ASD are required.
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Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; Callithrix jacchus; Oxyticin; Risperidone solution; arachidonic acid; buccal mucosa; eicosapentaenoic acid; gallus gallus domesticus); impaired social interaction; magnocellular neurons; multivariate behavior analysis; neurobiological bases; pharmacologic treatment; risperidone solution; steroid hormone

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • Current Psychopharmacology publishes peer-reviewed expert review articles and single topic guest edited issues on all aspects of pre-clinical and clinical research in psychopharmacology. The journal aims to be the leading forum for expert review articles in the field. The journal also accepts high-level original research articles on outstanding topics of preclinical and clinical psychopharmacology. Data must be published for the first time in Current Psychopharmacology.
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