Perturbed MAPK signaling in ASD: Impact of metal neurotoxicity

Oritoke M. Aluko, Saheed A. Lawal, Omamuyovwi M. Ijomone, Michael Aschner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are intracellular signaling pathways necessary for regulating various physiological processes, including neurodevelopment. The developing brain is vulnerable to toxic substances, and metals, such as lead, mercury, nickel, manganese, and others, have been proven to induce disturbances in the MAPK signaling pathway. Since a well-regulated MAPK is necessary for normal neurodevelopment, perturbation of the MAPK pathway results in neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD affects brain parts responsible for communication, cognition, social interaction, and other patterned behaviors. Several studies have addressed the role of metals in the etiopathogenesis of ASD. Here, we briefly review the MAPK signaling pathway and its role in neurodevelopment. Furthermore, we highlight the role of metal toxicity in the development of ASD and how perturbed MAPK signaling may result in ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Toxicology
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Autism
  • MAPK
  • Metal exposure
  • Neurodevelopment disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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