Neuron Glia Biology

  • Neuron Glia Biology / Volume 7 / Issue 2-4 / May 2011, pp 205-213
  • Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012. The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence <>. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.
  • DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 06 July 2012

Research Article

Evidence of microglial activation in autism and its possible role in brain underconnectivity

Juan I. Rodrigueza1 and Janet K. Kerna1a2a3 c1

a1 Stop Calling It Autism, Fort Worth, TX, USA

a2 Institute of Chronic Illnesses Inc., Allen, TX, USA

a3 University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA


Evidence indicates that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from an ongoing neuroinflammatory process in different regions of the brain involving microglial activation. When microglia remain activated for an extended period, the production of mediators is sustained longer than usual and this increase in mediators contributes to loss of synaptic connections and neuronal cell death. Microglial activation can then result in a loss of connections or underconnectivity. Underconnectivity is reported in many studies in autism. One way to control neuroinflammation is to reduce or inhibit microglial activation. It is plausible that by reducing brain inflammation and microglial activation, the neurodestructive effects of chronic inflammation could be reduced and allow for improved developmental outcomes. Future studies that examine treatments that may reduce microglial activation and neuroinflammation, and ultimately help to mitigate symptoms in ASD, are warranted.


  • Autism;
  • autism spectrum disorder (ASD);
  • microglial activation;
  • neuroinflammation;
  • underconnectivity;
  • early intervention;
  • treatments


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Janet K. Kern, Institute of Chronic Illnesses Inc., 408 North Allen Drive, Allen, TX 75013, USA phone: (214)592-6600 fax: 1(888)SCIA-123 or 1(888)724-2123 email: