Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 697–704

Hyperserotoninemia and Altered Immunity in Autism


  • Nancy K. Burgess
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity of Utah
  • Thayne L. Sweeten
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity of Utah
  • William M. McMahon
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Utah
    • Department of NeurologyUniversity of Utah
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0100-7

Cite this article as:
Burgess, N.K., Sweeten, T.L., McMahon, W.M. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2006) 36: 697. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0100-7


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.


AutismHyperserotoninemiaImmune responseSerotonin

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006