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Could acupuncture have a role in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder via modulation of BDNF expression and activation?
  1. Li-Ya Li,
  2. Nan Jiang,
  3. Yue Zhao
  1. School of Nursing, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Yue Zhao, School of Nursing, Tianjin Medical University, Observatory Road, Heping District, Tianjin 300070, China; yuezhaotjmedu{at}


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a set of heterogeneous neurodevelopmental conditions characterised by early-onset difficulties in social communication and unusually restricted repetitive behaviour and interests. Multiple lines of evidence directly or indirectly suggest an involvement in autism of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a pivotal role in the development and plasticity of the brain. Recent studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective effect of acupuncture-induced activation of BDNF in many neurological disorders. In view of these findings, we hypothesise the potential therapeutic effect of acupuncture-induced activation of BDNF in the treatment of ASD.


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