Using urine FTIR spectra to screen autism spectrum disorder

Sarıgül, Neslihan
Bozatlı, Leyla
Kurultak, İlhan
Korkmaz, Filiz
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Scientific Reports
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorder caused by multiple factors, lacking clear biomarkers. Diagnosing ASD still relies on behavioural and developmental signs and usually requires lengthy observation periods, all of which are demanding for both clinicians and parents. Although many studies have revealed valuable knowledge in this field, no clearly defined, practical, and widely acceptable diagnostic tool exists. In this study, 26 children with ASD (ASD+), aged 3–5 years, and 26 sex and age-matched controls are studied to investigate the diagnostic potential of the Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy. The urine FTIR spectrum results show a downward trend in the 3000–2600/cm region for ASD+ children when compared to the typically developing (TD) children of the same age. The average area of this region is 25% less in ASD+ level 3 children, 29% less in ASD+ level 2 children, and 16% less in ASD+ level 1 children compared to that of the TD children. Principal component analysis was applied to the two groups using the entire spectrum window and five peaks were identified for further analysis. The correlation between the peaks and natural urine components is validated by artificial urine solutions. Less-than-normal levels of uric acid, phosphate groups, and ammonium (NH4) can be listed as probable causes. This study shows that ATR-FTIR can serve as a practical and non-invasive method to screen ASD using the high-frequency region of the urine spectrum.
Open Access, Published by Scientific Reports,, Neslihan Sarigul, Institute of Nuclear Science, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, Leyla Bozatli, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey, Ilhan Kurultak, Department of Nephrology, Faculty of Medicine, Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey, Filiz Korkmaz, Biophysics Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering, Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey.
Autism spectrum disorders, Biological physics