Date de publication: 2022

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) around the world continues to increase while the pathophysiology remains insufficiently elucidated. Genetics, environment, and epigenetic changes are often implicated. Abnormal level in trace elements and minerals is among environmental factors assumed to be involved. The purpose of this article is to assess hair concentrations of toxic and essential elements in children with ASD and children with neurotypical development in the city of Marrakech. Two hundred and twenty-seven children (107 with ASD and 120 controls) aged 3 to 14years old were recruited. The results of analysis by ICP-MS showed a significant decrease in hair levels of copper, zinc, iron, and selenium (25%, 13%, 17%, 11%) of children with ASD. The most significantly reduced concentrations in children with ASD are that of manganese by 34%. Hair aluminum level was significantly elevated by 29% in ASD compared to controls. Multiple lin-ear regression analysis revealed that copper, selenium, and iron content in hair were significantly inversely associated with ASD, similarly, hair aluminum content was significantly associated with ASD. Adjusted model for demographic parameters increased the predictive ability of the model, father’s age was a significant predictor. In addition, ASD and gender were significant predictors of hair levels of aluminum, selenium, and manganese.These results support the hypothesis of the disparity of trace elements and minerals levels in children with ASD and highlight the potential interest of micronutrient supplementation in the eventual improvement of ASD symptoms. Future research should explore the pathophysiology of these micronutrient deficiencies.

Keywords: Autistic spectrum disorder· Copper· Selenium· Manganese· Aluminum· Marrakech

Biological Trace Element Research