Objective: Clinical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) relies on time-consuming subjective assessments. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of salivary microRNAs for differentiating children with ASD from peers with typical development (TD) and non-autism developmental delay (DD). The secondary purpose was to explore microRNA patterns among ASD phenotypes. Method: This multicenter, prospective, case-control study enrolled 443 children (2–6 years old). ASD diagnoses were based on DSM-5 criteria. Children with ASD or DD were assessed with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule II and Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales II. MicroRNAs were measured with high-throughput sequencing. Differential expression of microRNAs was compared among the ASD (n = 187), TD (n = 125), and DD (n = 69) groups in the training set (n = 381). Multivariate logistic regression defined a panel of microRNAs that differentiated children with ASD and those without ASD. The algorithm was tested in a prospectively collected naïve set of 62 samples (ASD, n = 37; TD, n = 8; DD, n = 17). Relations between microRNA levels and ASD phenotypes were explored. Result: Fourteen microRNAs displayed differential expression (false discovery rate < 0.05) among ASD, TD, and DD groups. A panel of 4 microRNAs (controlling for medical/demographic covariates) best differentiated children with ASD from children without ASD in training (area under the curve = 0.725) and validation (area under the curve = 0.694) sets. Eight microRNAs were associated (R > 0.25, false discovery rate < 0.05) with social affect, and 10 microRNAs were associated with restricted/repetitive behavior. Conclusion: Salivary microRNAs are “altered” in children with ASD and associated with levels of ASD behaviors. Salivary microRNA collection is noninvasive, identifying ASD-status with moderate accuracy. A multi-“omic” approach using additional RNA families could improve accuracy, leading to clinical application. Clinical trial registration information: A Salivary miRNA Diagnostic Test for Autism; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT02832557.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry|
|State||Published - Feb 2020|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health