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Analyses of reduced glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), and total glutathione (tGSH) in red blood cell samples from 30 children diagnosed with autism and 30 age, gender, and socioeconomic status matched controls were undertaken. The children's ages ranged from 2-9. Samples were obtained from subjects residing in Western Pennsylvania, an area of the United States greatly affected by high levels of mercury deposition and airborne PM 2.5 particulates. Liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry was utilized by following EPA Method 6800 for sample analyses. The children with autism had a significantly lower mean red blood cell (RBC) reduced to oxidized glutathione ratio (GSH/GSSG) compared to the control children (p = 0.025). In addition, compared to the controls, the children with autism had significantly higher RBC tGSH values (p = 0.0076) and GSH values (p = 0.022). These results suggest that exposure to toxic elements may prompt compensatory increases in production of GSH in children with autism in environments higher in toxins. The compensation did not fully correct the anti-oxidant properties of exposure to xenobiotics as demonstrated by the significantly lower GSH/GSSG in children with autism compared to controls. Out of a set of glutathione biomarkers, GSH/GSSG may best determine the degree of compensation for oxidative stress in children with autism.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Free radical biology & medicine
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