Unveiling the interplay between NSAID-induced dysbiosis and autoimmune liver disease in children: insights into the hidden gateway to autism spectrum disorders. Evidence from ex vivo, in vivo, and clinical studies

Doaa I. Mohamed*, Hebatallah H. Abo Nahas, Asmaa M. Elshaer, Dalia Alaa El Din Aly El-Waseef, Omnyah A. El-Kharashi, Soha M.Y. Mohamed, Yasmine Gamal Sabry, Riyad A. Almaimani, Hussain A. Almasmoum, Abdulmalik S. Altamimi, Ibrahim Abdel Aziz Ibrahim, Samar Z. Alshawwa, Mariusz Jaremko*, Abdul Hamid Emwas, Essa M. Saied*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) represent a diverse group of neuropsychiatric conditions, and recent evidence has suggested a connection between ASD and microbial dysbiosis. Immune and gastrointestinal dysfunction are associated with dysbiosis, and there are indications that modulating the microbiota could improve ASD-related behaviors. Additionally, recent findings highlighted the significant impact of microbiota on the development of autoimmune liver diseases, and the occurrence of autoimmune liver disease in children with ASD is noteworthy. In the present study, we conducted both an in vivo study and a clinical study to explore the relationship between indomethacin-induced dysbiosis, autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), and the development of ASD. Our results revealed that indomethacin administration induced intestinal dysbiosis and bacterial translocation, confirmed by microbiological analysis showing positive bacterial translocation in blood cultures. Furthermore, indomethacin administration led to disturbed intestinal permeability, evidenced by the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasomes pathway and elevation of downstream biomarkers (TLR4, IL18, caspase 1). The histological analysis supported these findings, showing widened intestinal tight junctions, decreased mucosal thickness, inflammatory cell infiltrates, and collagen deposition. Additionally, the disturbance of intestinal permeability was associated with immune activation in liver tissue and the development of AIH, as indicated by altered liver function, elevated ASMA and ANA in serum, and histological markers of autoimmune hepatitis. These results indicate that NSAID-induced intestinal dysbiosis and AIH are robust triggers for ASD existence. These findings were further confirmed by conducting a clinical study that involved children with ASD, autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), and a history of NSAID intake. Children exposed to NSAIDs in early life and complicated by dysbiosis and AIH exhibited elevated serum levels of NLRP3, IL18, liver enzymes, ASMA, ANA, JAK1, and IL6. Further, the correlation analysis demonstrated a positive relationship between the measured parameters and the severity of ASD. Our findings suggest a potential link between NSAIDs, dysbiosis-induced AIH, and the development of ASD. The identified markers hold promise as indicators for early diagnosis and prognosis of ASD. This research highlights the importance of maintaining healthy gut microbiota and supports the necessity for further investigation into the role of dysbiosis and AIH in the etiology of ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1268126
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Mohamed, Abo Nahas, Elshaer, El-Waseef, El-Kharashi, Mohamed, Sabry, Almaimani, Almasmoum, Altamimi, Ibrahim, Alshawwa, Jaremko, Emwas and M. Saied.


  • autism spectrum disorders
  • autoimmune hepatitis
  • clinical study
  • dysbiosis
  • gut microbiota
  • inflammasomes
  • NSAIDs
  • prognostic biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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