News Releases & Research Results Discovery of a candidate biomarker for autism spectrum disorder - Biological reclassification of autism spectrum disorder -

News Releases & Research Results


The results of collaborative research conducted by Young Chief Investigator Motoko Maekawa of the Career Development Program and Team Leader Takeo Yoshikawa and Deputy Team Leader Tetsuo Ohnishi of the Laboratory for Molecular Psychiatry, RIKEN Center for Brain Science.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • Adipocyte-type fatty acid-binding protein “FABP4” was identified as a candidate biomarker for autism spectrum disorder (autism).
  • Specifically, blood samples from neurotypical and autistic children were analyzed, demonstrating that younger autistic children had lower blood FABP4 levels than neurotypical children. Furthermore, FABP4 gene-disrupted mice exhibited autism-like behaviors and histological features.
  • The results of this research project should facilitate the development of biomarkers for elucidating the pathophysiology of autism.

This program was conducted with the support of the Research Center Network for Realization of Regenerative Medicine by AMED.

The results of this research project were published online in the scientific journal Brain Communications on September 11.


Maekawa M., et al. A potential role of fatty acid binding protein 4 in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder Brain Communications
DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcaa145


Last updated 09/11/20