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Fig. 3 | Biology of Sex Differences

Fig. 3

From: The role of sex-differential biology in risk for autism spectrum disorder

Fig. 3

Microglia and/or astrocytes may have a role in ASD pathophysiology and sex-differential biology. ASD risk genes, when disrupted, affect processes in the developing brain such as molecular pathways, cellular functions, and neural circuits (thick green arrows), which subsequently lead to an ASD phenotype. Sex-differential regulatory mechanisms also influence different, and possibly overlapping, processes (thick purple arrows). A gene recent gene expression analysis by Werling and colleagues (2016) demonstrated that genes associated with the functions of microglia and/or astrocytes show higher expression in males (versus females) as well as higher expression in the ASD brain (versus controls), suggesting that these cell types may contribute to both typical sex differences in the brain and ASD pathophysiology. This is one potential pathway that may contribute to ASD’s male-biased prevalence

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