[Hot Science] Gut glutamate metabolism changes the gut microbiome of children with autism spectrum disorder

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Gastroenterology Paediatrics Gut health Nutrition & Disease Management
[Hot Science] Gut glutamate metabolism changes the gut microbiome of children with autism spectrum disorder

This article focuses on the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) by providing new evidences on how gut composition changes regarding altered glutamate metabolism would impact children with ASD.

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  • A growing body of evidences is suggesting the critical role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), nonetheless, the specific mechanism remains unclear


  • ASD group – children with ASD (n = 92)
  • Typical development (TD) group – age-matched children demonstrating TD (n = 42)


  • Stage 1 – Discovery stage
    • Performed systematic bioinformatic analyses on fecal samples
    • Identified gut metabolites associated with altered gut microbiota composition
  • Stage 2 – Validation stage
    • Tested differential metabolites
    • Compared the differences of glutamate metabolism between two groups

Key Findings

  • As compared to TD group, ASD group was found to have:
    • Gut microbiota composition alterations
      • Lower species richness in their gut microbiota (p <0.000111)
      • Lower level of Bacteroides vulgatus
      • Higher levels of potentially harmful species such as Eggerthella lenta and Closteridium botulinum
    • Reduced levels of gut metabolites that may eventually affect neurotransmitter metabolism, including 2-keto-glutaramic acid, L-aspartic acid and Fumaric acid 
  • Gut 2-ketoglutaramic acid was validated as a potential biomarker for ASD


These notable changes in the gut microbiome and metabolism among children with ASD may foster the development of diagnostic and therapeutic measures for ASD

Link to the article: https://msystems.asm.org/content/msys/4/1/e00321-18.full.pdf


Wang M, Wan J, Rong H, He F, Wang H, Zhou J, Cai C, Wang Y, Xu R, Yin Z, Zhou W. 2019. Alterations in gut glutamate metabolism associated with changes in gut microbiota composition in children with autism spectrum disorder. mSystems. 4:e00321-18.

Other online materials that you might be interested in:

WNSC Hong Kong Bulletin 2018 Issue 4 – Unveiling risk factors of autism: Current evidence