Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 697-704

First online:

Hyperserotoninemia and Altered Immunity in Autism

  • Nancy K. BurgessAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University of Utah
  • , Thayne L. SweetenAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University of Utah
  • , William M. McMahonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Utah
  • , Robert S. FujinamiAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University of Utah Email author 

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One of the most consistent biological findings in autism is elevated whole blood serotonin (5-HT) levels found in about 1/3 of cases. Immune abnormalities are also commonly observed in this disorder. Given 5-HT’s role as an immunomodulator, possible connections between 5-HT and immune abnormalities in autism are explored in this review. Areas of focus include hyperserotoninemia and cellular immune function, autoantibodies to 5-HT receptors, and 5-HT’s role in autoimmunity. Further research is needed to determine the interactions between neuropsychiatric and immune dysfunction in autism and related disorders.


Autism Hyperserotoninemia Immune response Serotonin