Chinese Journal of Medical History / Zhong Hua Yi Shi Za Zhi

[This article belongs to Volume - 53, Issue - 07]

Abstract : Prenatal exposure to valproic acid (VPA) has been identified to increase the risk of autism in children. However, the multifaceted nature of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) includes other factors, notably vitamin A deficiency. Our study explored whether the conjunction of ASD and vitamin A deficiency intensifies the typical symptoms. We allocated female rats into four distinct groups: VPA alone, VPA combined with vitamin A deficiency (VPA+VAD), only vitamin A deficiency (VAD), and a control group. Specifically, the VPA group was administered a 500 mg/kg VPA injection on the 12.5th gestation day. We assessed various behavioral aspects such as social interaction, memory, and anxiety using specialized tests like the three-chamber social assay, novel object recognition memory (NOR), and elevated plus maze (EPM). Our findings revealed that prenatal exposure to VPA had lasting postnatal behavioral impacts. Offspring from the VPA group exhibited reduced social interactions, heightened anxiety in the EPM test, and displayed memory challenges in the NOR test. Moreover, we observed heightened levels of oxidative stress markers in their brain tissues, and altered enzymatic antioxidant activities. Importantly, the combination of the autism model with vitamin A deficiency demonstrated more severe autism-like behaviors, increased oxidative stress levels, and altered enzyme activities. Conclusively, the overlap of ASD and vitamin A deficiency could amplify ASD symptoms. This suggests that vitamin A deficiency might heighten an individual's vulnerability to ASD. Further investigations are imperative to fully comprehend the interplay between vitamin A deficiency and ASD during neural development.