Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Analysis of the small intestinal microbiome of children with autism  

Many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating that exacerbate their behavioral problems. These symptoms may be related to alterations in microbial flora in the intestine. Evidence on the effect of gut flora on children with autism is very limited; however, even in healthy humans intestinal microflora is largely unexplored. Modern culturing-independent techniques allow studying complex microbial ecosystems (microbiomes) containing at least 100 times as many genes as human genome. The most informative is technique based on gene analysis of specific RNA found in all microorganisms. This novel approach was successfully used for the analysis of colon mucosa and stool samples in healthy humans and patients with inflammatory bowel disease. However, microbiome of the upper part of gastrointestinal tract in humans has been understudied in comparison to that of the colon. The objective of our study is to evaluate the entire microbial population in the upper gastrointestinal tract of children with autism to determine if there is an overgrowth of specific populations of bacteria. These data will be correlated with questionnaires on gastrointestinal symptoms and autistic behavior. The genomic data from this study might be of interest in terms of understanding the role of upper gut microorganisms in the etiology of autism and use of therapeutic strategies to alter intestinal flora. Project Status


Funder Department of Defense
Fiscal Year Funding $0.00
Current Award Period 2010-2012
Project Number AR093450
Principal Investigator Kushak, Rafail
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 3: What Caused This To Happen And Can This Be Prevented? (Causes)
Subcategory Environment
Strategic Plan Objective New! Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 3SI. Support at least two studies that examine potential differences in the microbiome of individuals with ASD versus comparison groups by 2012. IACC Recommended Budget: $1,000,000 over 2 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Massachusetts General Hospital
State/Country Massachusetts
Web Link 1 Analysis of the small intestinal microbiome of children with autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Analysis of the small intestinal microbiome of children with autism | $132,750.00 | 2009 | AR093450