Article

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 51-59

Platelet serotonin, a possible marker for familial autism

  • Joseph PivenAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • , Guochuan TsaiAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • , Eileen NehmeAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • , Joseph T. CoyleAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • , Gary A. ChaseAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health
  • , Susan E. FolsteinAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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Abstract

Serotonin (5HT) levels in platelet-rich plasma were measured in 5 autistic subjects who had siblings with either autism or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), 23 autistic subjects without affected siblings, and 10 normal controls. The 5HT levels of autistic subjects with affected siblings were significantly higher than probands without affected siblings, and autistic subjects without affected siblings had 5HT levels significantly higher than controls. Differences in 5HT levels remained significant after adjustment for sex, age, and IQ. These results suggest that 5HT level in autistic subjects may be associated with genetic liability to autism.