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1.  Necrosis is increased in lymphoblastoid cell lines from children with autism compared with their non-autistic siblings under conditions of oxidative and nitrosative stress 
Mutagenesis  2013;28(4):475-484.
Autism spectrum disorders are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental conditions characterised by impairments in reciprocal social interaction, communication and stereotyped behaviours. As increased DNA damage events have been observed in a range of other neurological disorders, it was hypothesised that they would be elevated in lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) obtained from children with autism compared with their non-autistic siblings. Six case–sibling pairs of LCLs from children with autistic disorder and their non-autistic siblings were obtained from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and cultured in standard RPMI-1640 tissue culture medium. Cells were exposed to medium containing either 0, 25, 50, 100 and 200 µM hydrogen peroxide (an oxidative stressor) or 0, 5, 10, 20 and 40 µM s-nitroprusside (a nitric oxide producer) for 1h. Following exposure, the cells were microscopically scored for DNA damage, cytostasis and cytotoxicity biomarkers as measured using the cytokinesis-block micronucleus cytome assay. Necrosis was significantly increased in cases relative to controls when exposed to oxidative and nitrosative stress (P = 0.001 and 0.01, respectively). Nuclear division index was significantly lower in LCLs from children with autistic disorder than their non-autistic siblings when exposed to hydrogen peroxide (P = 0.016), but there was no difference in apoptosis, micronucleus frequency, nucleoplasmic bridges or nuclear buds. Exposure to s-nitroprusside significantly increased the number of micronuclei in non-autistic siblings compared with cases (P = 0.003); however, other DNA damage biomarkers, apoptosis and nuclear division did not differ significantly between groups. The findings of this study show (i) that LCLs from children with autism are more sensitive to necrosis under conditions of oxidative and nitrosative stress than their non-autistic siblings and (ii) refutes the hypothesis that children with autistic disorder are abnormally susceptible to DNA damage.
doi:10.1093/mutage/get025
PMCID: PMC3681539  PMID: 23766106
2.  The potential role of the antioxidant and detoxification properties of glutathione in autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Background
Glutathione has a wide range of functions; it is an endogenous anti-oxidant and plays a key role in the maintenance of intracellular redox balance and detoxification of xenobiotics. Several studies have indicated that children with autism spectrum disorders may have altered glutathione metabolism which could play a key role in the condition.
Methods
A systematic literature review and meta-analysis was conducted of studies examining metabolites, interventions and/or genes of the glutathione metabolism pathways i.e. the γ-glutamyl cycle and trans-sulphuration pathway in autism spectrum disorders.
Results
Thirty nine studies were included in the review comprising an in vitro study, thirty two metabolite and/or co-factor studies, six intervention studies and six studies with genetic data as well as eight studies examining enzyme activity.
Conclusions
The review found evidence for the involvement of the γ-glutamyl cycle and trans-sulphuration pathway in autistic disorder is sufficiently consistent, particularly with respect to the glutathione redox ratio, to warrant further investigation to determine the significance in relation to clinical outcomes. Large, well designed intervention studies that link metabolites, cofactors and genes of the γ-glutamyl cycle and trans-sulphuration pathway with objective behavioural outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorders are required. Future risk factor analysis should include consideration of multiple nutritional status and metabolite biomarkers of pathways linked with the γ-glutamyl cycle and the interaction of genotype in relation to these factors.
doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-35
PMCID: PMC3373368  PMID: 22524510
γ-glutamyl cycle; Trans-sulphuration pathway; Metabolites; Genes; Supplementation; Autism spectrum disorders
3.  Zinc deficiency or excess within the physiological range increases genome instability and cytotoxicity, respectively, in human oral keratinocyte cells 
Genes & Nutrition  2011;7(2):139-154.
Zinc (Zn) is an essential component of Zn-finger proteins and acts as a cofactor for enzymes required for cellular metabolism and in the maintenance of DNA integrity. The study investigated the genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of Zn deficiency or excess in a primary human oral keratinocyte cell line and determined the optimal concentration of two Zn compounds (Zn Sulphate (ZnSO4) and Zn Carnosine (ZnC)) to minimise DNA damage. Zn-deficient medium (0 μM) was produced using Chelex treatment, and the two Zn compounds ZnSO4 and ZnC were tested at concentrations of 0.0, 0.4, 4.0, 16.0, 32.0 and 100.0 μM. Cell viability was decreased in Zn-depleted cells (0 μM) as well as at 32 μM and 100 μM for both Zn compounds (P < 0.0001) as measured via the MTT assay. DNA strand breaks, as measured by the comet assay, were found to be increased in Zn-depleted cells compared with the other treatment groups (P < 0.05). The Cytokinesis Block Micronucleus Cytome assay showed a significant increase in the frequency of both apoptotic and necrotic cells under Zn-deficient conditions (P < 0.05). Furthermore, elevated frequencies of micronuclei (MNi), nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs) and nuclear buds (NBuds) were observed at 0 and 0.4 μM Zn, whereas these biomarkers were minimised for both Zn compounds at 4 and 16 μM Zn (P < 0.05), suggesting these concentrations are optimal to maintain genome stability. Expression of PARP, p53 and OGG1 measured by western blotting was increased in Zn-depleted cells indicating that DNA repair mechanisms are activated. These results suggest that maintaining Zn concentrations within the range of 4–16 μM is essential for DNA damage prevention in cultured human oral keratinocytes.
doi:10.1007/s12263-011-0248-4
PMCID: PMC3316759  PMID: 21935692
Zinc; Cytotoxicity; DNA damage; Genomic stability; Human oral keratinocytes; Micronuclei
4.  Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease Risk in Peripheral Tissues; Focus on Buccal Cells 
Current Alzheimer Research  2014;11(6):519-531.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive degenerative disorder of the brain and is the most common form of dementia. To-date no simple, inexpensive and minimally invasive procedure is available to confirm with certainty the early diagnosis of AD prior to the manifestations of symptoms characteristic of the disease. Therefore, if population screening of individuals is to be performed, more suitable, easily accessible tissues would need to be used for a diagnostic test that would identify those who exhibit cellular pathology indicative of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD risk so that they can be prioritized for primary prevention. This need for minimally invasive tests could be achieved by targeting surrogate tissues, since it is now well recognized that AD is not only a disorder restricted to pathology and biomarkers within the brain. Human buccal cells for instance are accessible in a minimally invasive manner, and exhibit cytological and nuclear morphologies that may be indicative of accelerated ageing or neurodegenerative disorders such as AD. However, to our knowledge there is no review available in the literature covering the biology of buccal cells and their applications in AD biomarker research. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize some of the main findings of biomarkers reported for AD in peripheral tissues, with a further focus on the rationale for the use of the buccal mucosa (BM) for biomarkers of AD and the evidence to date of changes exhibited in buccal cells with AD.
doi:10.2174/1567205011666140618103827
PMCID: PMC4166904  PMID: 24938500
Alzheimer’s disease; buccal mucosa; diagnosis; mild cognitive impairment; peripheral biomarkers.

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