Research shows that testosterone and estrogen hormones have opposite effects on gene called RORA. In nerve cells, testosterone would reduce the ability of cells to express or activate RORA genes. Conversely, estrogen will increase the ability of the cell.
“Autism is highly influenced by gender. The study found that high levels of testosterone in the fetus are at high risk of causing a child with autism,” said lead researcher Valerie Hu, an expert in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University, according to LiveScience.
Normally, RORA’s tasks in the cell is to activate other genes. When cells have high testosterone levels, RORA levels will decrease, so that it should affect every gene which is supposed to be activated by RORA. This knowledge was obtained from a research on nerve cells grown in a laboratory.
The study did not indicate that a low level of RORA will cause autism in addition to the link between these conditions.
Several studies have shown deficiencies of RORA can explain various aspects that is seen in children with autism. For example, the gene is supposed to protect nerve cells from the effects of stress and inflammation. Stress and inflammation are commonly found in brains of children with autism.
Research also shows that an autistic child’s brain tissue contains RORA less than healthy children. RORA is also believed to help the body’s circadian rhythms. That is why children with autism often have sleep disorders.
In contrast to testosterone, estrogen will increase the level of RORA in the cell. “This means the female fetus will be protected from autism,” said Hu.
Indeed RORA is not a single gene involved in the occurrence of autism, but according to Hu RORA has a very important role.Tagged with: autism, autism in boys,