Effect of Vitamin A Supplementation on Gut Microbiota in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders - a Pilot Study
Objectives: This study was performed to investigate the role of VA in the changes of gut microbiota and changes of autism functions in children with ASD.
Methods: Sixty four, aged 1 to 8 years old children with ASD completed a 6-month follow-up study with VA intervention. High-performance liquid chromatography was used to assess plasma retinol levels. The Autism Behaviour Checklist (ABC), Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) were used to assess autism symptoms. CD38 and acid-related orphan receptor alpha (RORA) mRNA levels were used to assess autism-related biochemical indicators’ changes. Evaluations of plasma retinol, ABC, CARS, SRS, CD38 and RORA mRNA levels were performed before and after 6 months of intervention in the 64 children. Illumina MiSeq for 16S rRNA genes was used to compare the differences in gut microbiota before and after 6 months of treatment in the subset 20 of the 64 children.
Results: After 6 months of intervention, plasma retinol, CD38 and RORA mRNA levels significantly increased (all P < 0.05); the scores of ABC, CARS and SRS scales showed no significant differences (all P > 0.05) in the 64 children. Meanwhile, the proportion of Bacteroidetes/Bacteroidales significantly increased and the proportion of Bifidobacterium significantly decreased in the subgroup of 20 (all false discovery rate (FDR) q < 0.05).
Conclusions: Bacteroidetes/Bacteroidales were the key taxa related to VA. Moreover, VA played a role in the changes in autism biomarkers. It remains unclear whether the VA concentration is associated with autism symptoms.