A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Winter, 2022 | Number 1, Volume 36

Study suggests association between inflammation, GI problems in kids with ASD

A new study by researchers in Egypt offers evidence that inflammation plays a role in the gastrointestinal (GI) problems common in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

Hanan Galal Azouz and colleagues assessed fecal levels of a protein called calprotectin in 40 children with ASD and 40 controls. Elevated levels of fecal calprotectin (FC) are considered a marker for GI inflammation. In addition, the researchers rated the severity of autism in the ASD group using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and assessed their GI symptoms using a modified six-question version of the Gastrointestinal Severity Index (6-GSI). 

They report that 82.5 percent of children with ASD exhibited GI symptoms, and 35 percent had high scores on the 6-GSI. FC levels were elevated in 35 percent of individuals with ASD compared to 25 percent of controls, and mean FC levels were significantly higher in children with ASD compared to controls. The researchers found positive correlations between CARS scores and GI severity scores as well as between FC levels and GI severity scores, although there was no significant correlation between CARS scores and FC levels. 

They conclude, “FC as a lab marker and GI severity score could be utilized as an indicator of GI problem severity in autistic patients with GI symptoms.” 


“Gastrointestinal manifestations and their relation to faecal calprotectin in children with autism,” Hanan Galal Azouz, Nermine Hossam El-din Zakaria, Ahmed Fouad Khalil, Sara Mohammad Naguib, and Mona Khalil, Gastroenterology Review (Przegląd Gastroenterologiczny), December 2, 2021 (online). Address: Mona Khalil, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, [email protected].