A revolutionizing approach to autism spectrum disorder using the microbiome

Dinyadarshini Johnson, Vengadesh Letchumanan, Sivakumar Thurairajasingam, Learn Han Lee

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The study of human microbiota and health has emerged as one of the ubiquitous research pursuits in recent decades which certainly warrants the attention of both researchers and clinicians. Many health conditions have been linked to the gut microbiota which is the largest reservoir of microbes in the human body. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the neurodevelopmental disorders which has been extensively explored in relation to gut microbiome. The utilization of microbial knowledge promises a more integrative perspective in understanding this disorder, albeit being an emerging field in research. More interestingly, oral and vaginal microbiomes, indicating possible maternal influence, have equally drawn the attention of researchers to study their potential roles in the etiopathology of ASD. Therefore, this review attempts to integrate the knowledge of microbiome and its significance in relation to ASD including the hypothetical aetiology of ASD and its commonly associated comorbidities. The microbiota‐based interventions including diet, prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, and faecal microbial transplant (FMT) have also been explored in relation to ASD. Of these, diet and probiotics are seemingly promising breakthrough interventions in the context of ASD for lesser known side effects, feasibility and easier administration, although more studies are needed to ascertain the actual clinical efficacy of these interventions. The existing knowledge and research gaps call for a more expanded and resolute research efforts in establishing the relationship between autism and microbiomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1983
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aetiology
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Clinician
  • Comorbidities
  • Diet
  • Faecal microbial transplant
  • Microbiome
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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