Many of the investigations undertaken by ESPA Research subscribe to the theory that some cases of autism may be the consequence of an underlying metabolic condition. The theory states that certain biologically active "peptides" and other related compounds (derived mainly but not exclusively from dietary gluten and/or casein) are not metabolised correctly. These compounds, combined with additional problems associated with abnormal permeability of the gastrointestinal (GI) membrane, are present in greater quantities than would normally be expected. They may subsequently be able to exert an effect that interferes with normal developmental and neural processes.
Methods of analysis
Urine is an extremely complex mixture of compounds. Various analytical methods for separating, detecting and determining compounds of interest in urine are available today. ESPA Research utilises several research-based methods using HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) and MS (Mass Spectrometry). HPLC uses a liquid mobile phase to separate the compounds of a mixture under pressure. The system is coupled to various detectors, based on the use of Ultra-violet (UV) light absorption and MS (detection based on molecular weight). ESPA Research uses one of the gold-standards of MS called QTOF (Quadrupole Time of Flight). This allows us to detect and measure with great accuracy and reliability the mass of many compounds often at extremely low concentrations. Several compounds of interest are included in our basic analysis including: trans-indolyl-3-acryloylglcyine (IAG), casein-derived peptides (beta-casomorphins 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7) and gluten-derived peptides (gluten exorphin A5, B5, C). Further analytical services are currently in development with more information to follow soon.
The presence of these compounds in the blood would mean that they would tend to be collected in the kidneys and then excreted in urine. Hence, the content of urine would to some extent, be reflective of the content of the blood. It should be noted that this process is not thought to involve a classical allergy (IgE) type mechanism.