Precision microbial intervention improves social behavior but not autism severity: A pilot double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Cell host & microbe Mazzone, L., Dooling, S. W., Volpe, E., Uljarevic, M., Waters, J. L., Sabatini, A., Arturi, L., Abate, R., Riccioni, A., Siracusano, M., Pereira, M., Engstrand, L., Cristofori, F., Adduce, D., Francavilla, R., Costa-Mattioli, M., Hardan, A. Y. 2023


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by the presence of restricted/repetitive behaviors and social communication deficits. Because effective treatments for ASD remain elusive, novel therapeutic strategies are necessary. Preclinical studies show that L. reuteri selectively reversed social deficits in several models for ASD. Here, in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, we tested the effect of L. reuteri (a product containing a combination of strains ATCC-PTA-6475 and DSM-17938) in children with ASD. The treatment does not alter overall autism severity, restricted/repetitive behaviors, the microbiome composition, or the immune profile. However, L. reuteri combination yields significant improvements in social functioning that generalized across different measures. Interestingly, ATCC-PTA-6475, but not the parental strain of DSM-17938, reverses the social deficits in a preclinical mouse model for ASD. Collectively, our findings show that L. reuteri enhances social behavior in children with ASD, thereby warranting larger trials in which strain-specific effects should also be investigated.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2023.11.021

View details for PubMedID 38113884